Last year DIR EN GREY delighted it’s fans with the full length album “The Insulated World”, which also included the single before that, 人間を被る (Ningen wo Kaburu). Which was a great visual example of DIR EN GREY’s shock value even after so many years. Today we’re going to take a look at their newest single The World of Mercy, to see if the band decided to continue on the same path, or honor their “experimental” side and turn a completely different direction yet again.
01. The World of Mercy
02. DOZING GREEN (Acoustic Ver.)
03. GRIEF [LIVE]
The World of Mercy
The title track for this single is an amazing piece that spans a good 10 minutes, making this more than just a single: a journey. The atmosphere is ominous throughout the entire song, combining heavy instrumentals with Kyo’s high vocals to create a unique world for the ones listening to it. This song on it’s own is worthy of the title “movie soundtrack”, as it would be able to be used for one, for sure. You can clearly hear the different parts of the song that connect to each other seamlessly.
After almost five minutes the song changes it pace to a little faster, progressively making way for the guitars to shine instead of the bass and drums before them. The song turns more aggressive, combining Kyo’s scream and growl vocals with his higher vocals as a backup in the background, creating a scene like only DIR EN GREY can.
Two minutes later the song appears to die out, but nothing is less true. The atmosphere is being changed yet again for this musical journey, back to the calmer, ominous scene that was created before with a piano backing up Kyo’s vocals of sorrow until the guitars join in yet again for a performance with long, high vocals and deep growls until the end of the song.
Like mentioned before, this isn’t just a song, this is a journey. A journey that no doubt will get a live performance worthy of a medal.
DOZING GREEN (Acoustic Ver.)
In the same theme of their previous single 人間を被る (Ningen wo Kaburu), the band decided to add another “older” song to the tracklist of their current single. The original version of DOZING GREEN is known by many, but this acoustic version is amazingly soothing to listen to while it gives Kyo the opportunity to perform it with a much softer voice than the original, giving a new dimension to the song that’s present on almost every live performance’s setlist. And for a good reason too. The bridge of the song sounds amazing on an acoustic guitar, and this sentence is coming from someone who normally can’t stand the sound of an acoustic guitar for an extended period of time (and that would be me, in case you didn’t connect those dots yet…). If you’re a fan of the original song, you should definitely give this one a listen, and amaze yourself about how well Kyo’s squeals for this song actually work with this acoustic setup.
At the risk of being slightly biased because GRIEF belongs to my personal favorite live performances of this band’s discography… This version is a great example of how well adapted Kyo’s voice is to live vocals. The song has evolved slightly in terms of how it is performed over the years, but in a good way. Just like 詩踏み (Utafumi) being the live song on their previous single, this version of GRIEF is another amazing example of what you can expect from this band’s live shows. If these live recordings don’t convince you to even consider going to see this band live when they are near you, I don’t know what will.
There is a lot that I can say about this single, but it all comes down to the same thing: the entire single “breathes” the essence of DIR EN GREY as an artist. It’s not a secret that the band has been around for a long time, and has been all over the world during that time. It’s something you can clearly hear in their music. While their music will probably always remain in the “experimental” section, they have found something that works for them and they create a musical journey like The World of Mercy like it’s nothing shortly after releasing a full album.
DIR EN GREY is a band that doesn’t aim it’s arrows on Japan only, or on one genre. While they overall stick to the hard&heavy section of any music store worldwide, they manage to find this clear path where they can incorporate something for everyone into their works. While the band seems to aim their attention more on the question of “will this song sound good live?” the studio versions of these songs sound just as good as their intended live performances of them. If you’re a fan of the darker side DIR EN GREY has been portraying for the last few years, The World of Mercy should definitely be a great addition to your collection. And if the regular edition doesn’t cut it for you, the other versions contain in-studio and live material which are also definitely worth to watch and listen to!
Final score: 85/100
Artist: DIR EN GREY
Release: The World of Mercy (single)
Release date: September 18, 2019
CD number: SFCD-241 (special edition with Blu-ray) / SFCD-243 (special edition with DVD) / SFCD-245 (limited edition with DVD) / SFCD-247 (regular edition)