Dir En Grey @ at Camden KoKo by Sabrina Dersel

12th August 2011, Review and photograpy by Sabrina Dersel

I first heard of Japanese Dir En Grey back in 2005,the same time as their first European Tour “It Withers and Withers”.

I managed to see a glimpse of them at the Download Festival UK in 2009, so it is with great expectations I am going to London’s Koko tonight to see these guys live.

Dispite the London Riots earlier this week, nothing will stop the fans from seeing them and showing their support tonight.

On arriving it’s clear to see the venue is pretty packed and fans are already getting crazy in the crowds and headbanging, with fists throwing and bodies jumping. Unfortunately for me it seems like all the photos are going to be from the crowd pit tonight as 7.15pm was an early start so arriving slightly late the photo-pit is already closed!

Seeing Dir En Grey on stage, I can t help being slightly disappointed by the lack of originality of their outfits.
Originally a Visual Kei band (Japanese movement that involves use of make up,elaborate hair styles, flamboyant costumes and androgynous aesthetics), they were famous for their extreme outfits, as well as shocking videos, often being censured!

But over the years they have opted for a less dramatic image, which is a shame to me.

The metal band is touring to support their very new album “Dum Spiro Spero” (While I Breathe I Hope), released with the label Firewall Div.

It is the follow up of “Uroboros” in 2008 and as the band formed in 1997, this is now their eighth album release.

While the group’s lineup has remained consistent since its inception, involving Kyo on vocals,guitarists Kaoru and Die, bassist Toshiya and drummer Shinya, numerous stylistic changes have made their sound very hard to determine.

Their sound would be best described as progressive, fast paced, raw and aggressive avant garde metal.

Kyo’s singing is considered a pivotal aspect of the band, and he has gained recognition for his distinctive vocal work, large range and versatility, being able to howl, croon, scream, growl, shriek and make nearly unhuman sound known!

Dir En Grey have their own unique watermarked sound with all lyrics written by Kyo himself, dealing with subjects such as society, mass media, sexual obsessions and love, usually with negative and dark implications.

I can t help but smile at the two Japanese girls fans next to me, before each introduced songs they are screaming and shrieking like two teenagers at a pop concert!

But with their songs playing with such great energy, neatly it’s no wonder they are driving the audience to their wildest behaviour tonight!

I can t get enough of Kyo s voice, it really does creep under your skin, Dir En Grey rocked and owned everyone at Koko tonight!