Live Report Exclusive

DIR EN GREY at The Regent Theater, Los Angeles

05/01/2020 2020-01-05 01:00:00 JaME Author: Cecee Photographer: Cecee

DIR EN GREY at The Regent Theater, Los Angeles

If purgatory were made into a musical, DIR EN GREY would be the guides providing the soundtrack.


© Christan C. (CeCeemagery)

DIR EN GREY deserve to be recognized as one of the world's most dynamic, trailblazing heavy metal bands. Fans from all walks of life feel a deep sense of connection with their music. Language barriers become irrelevant when a group like DIR EN GREY is equally as good on stage as they are in the studio. On December 5th, the band played a packed-out show at The Regent Theater in Los Angeles, to start the first leg of their tour, aptly named This Way to Self-Destruction.

Disjointed images of burning planets, fallen ash and heavy skies flashed on the backdrop as DIR EN GREY trickled onto the stage. One by one, the members grabbed their instruments and settled into the stage tableau like characters in a macabre portrait. Giving an enigmatic sneer, vocalist Kyo slowly sauntered to the front of the stage. Kyo’s body undulated to the soft guitar chords and the shimmering sound of Shinya's cymbals as they launched into Zetsuentai.

Like a sinister emcee, Kyo lured the audience in with graceful, fluid movements to the music, and then the band tore it apart with the roar of guitars and the heavy thunder of syncopated drums. Opening the show with the final track from their album The Insulated World was a smart move, as the following songs expanded upon the elements heard in Zetsuenai. The song's breathtaking layers are grandiose without tipping over into indulgent and prepared the audience for the musical journey to come. Next came Ningen wo kaburu, a thunderous alt-metal riot of sound of the kind only DIR EN GREY can deliver.

The set list wasn't so much a showcase of The Insulated World as it was a journey through it. Each song took a steep climb and rapid descent into the grimmest parts of the soul. Concertgoers were either entranced or swept up in the head-banging maelstrom of music. The breadth of tonalities and pitches in Kyo’s astonishing vocal range made it seem as if hundreds of characters channeled through the vocalist. His bandmates provided a flawless jet stream of melodies, rhythm and percussion on which Kyo’s vocals could soar.

The visual performance was just as evocative as the music. Every song had a scene and every scene flowed seamlessly into the next. The show flowed on without many breaks, except for before the encore. Throughout the main set, Kyo used his microphone less as a prop and more as an extension of the music. In his hands, the mic cords morphed into a noose, and later into disemboweled guts. Self-inflicted wounds manifested on the singer as he mimed the gnawing of his wrists and rending of flesh.

Kaoru and Toshiya struck equally dramatic images in the background, with bold sweeps of the hand over their guitar and bass. Die and Shinya’s billowing blond locks were almost as mesmerizing as their masterful guitar licks and drumming. Each band member embodied the sounds of their respective instruments, letting the music physicalize through them.

DIR EN GREY’s sound and visuals teeter on the edges of beauty and gore, sensuality and horror. If purgatory were made into a musical, DIR EN GREY would be the guides providing the soundtrack. The haunting imagery is key to the tour’s avant-garde ambience and to the content of The Insulated World. It was a cathartic experience watching DIR EN GREY take all the darkest feelings of self-affliction and lay them bare for the masses.

Set list

01. Zetsuentai
02. Ningen wo kaburu
03. Rubbish Heap
04. Keibetsu to hajimari
05. Devote My Life
06. Celebrate Empty Howls
07. Aka
08. Merciless Cult
09. Downfall
10. Values of Madness
11. Keigaku no yoku
12. Ranunculus
13. The World of Mercy

Encore

14. Followers
15. Sustain the untruth
16. Utafumi
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Gallery

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Related Releases

Album Digital Release 2018-09-26 2018-09-26
DIR EN GREY
Album CD 2018-09-26 2018-09-26
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Single CD 2019-09-18 2019-09-18
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Date Event Location
  
05/12/20192019-12-05
Concert
DIR EN GREY
The Regent Theater
Los Angeles, CA
USA

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