Heavy Metal Band Dir en grey will be appearing at Theatre of the Living Arts in Philadelphia today (Friday 9th) as a stop on the North/South American leg of their Age Quod Agis live concert tour. Since their debut demo album MISSA in 1997, Dir en grey has been a force of power and change in the Japanese rock scene. Each album has an entirely unique sound, vividly explored little worlds in a CD case. With the strength of their conviction to be themselves along with intense talent, they have managed what few non-English speaking bands have ever done: had commercial success overseas. After a few successful shows in Europe, they headed to the USA. Their first three shows here in 2006 sold out almost instantly and, since then, they have regularly included Europe and the North and South Americas in their tours. Their albums are available in chain stores like Hot Topic, FYE and Best Buy. They have also played with the Deftones, Korn and Apocalyptica, as well as participated in festivals like Rock am Ring and the Family Values Tour. Their popularity (or notoriety) among metal and heavy rock fans continues to grow with every overseas show.
While arguably the most successful heavy band in Japan today, Dir en grey is not well known even in Japan among people with mainstream tastes. Pop music by artists like Smap or Nakashima Mika dominates Japanese modern culture. With their mission statement explicitly declaring focus on exposing the negative side of humanity (particularly anguish), their lyrics consistently delve into emotions and situations that traditional Japanese culture suppresses acknowledging. Their unflinching expression of one’s personal torment and vices or observations concerning the way people treat each other causes a lot of their music videos and lyrics to be censored. Known for expressing their opinions regardless of societal consequence or judgment, they released an article after the great Tohoku earthquake in Japan criticizing the government’s handling of the aftermath and even placed a billboard in Times Square to further their cause.
Their newest album ‘Dum Spiro Spero’ released in August of this year. Recommended tracks for the uninitiated are ‘Hageshisa to, kono mune no naka de karamitsuita shakunetsu no yami’, ‘Lotus’ and ‘Ruten no Tou.’ If you enjoy heavy music threaded with beauty and delivered with raw passion, this band’s for you.
NE/USA Tour dates of Age Quod Agis
Philadelphia – 12/9 – Theatre of the Living Arts
Baltimore – 12/10 – Sonar
New York City – 12/12 – Irving Plaza