D’s ‘in the name of justice’ Goes All Chivalry And Noblesse Oblige

After announcing their international debut, it seemed fitting to follow up with some thoughts on D‘s recent work. Although D‘s In the name of justice was one of those singles that I didn’t hesitate to acquire as soon as the post-office could deliver it, it’s testament to my monkey-mind lifestyle that it’s taken this many months to get a review up, as obviously it was no fault of the single’s.

In the name of justice takes a slightly different turn from D‘s earlier stuff.  The characteristically long-winded, 5+ minute-long shredder sagas, blood-drenched ballads and meandering melodramas are nowhere to be found on the 4-track [note that tracklists vary per version of release] hustle to slay the dragon and save the world.

Industrial, ultra-thick and heavy, the titular track opens with a rolling thunder of drums and bass, and some grungy, aggro guitar work shoves you right into the chorus. The chorus blends the upbeat cheeriness of their sub-silly tracks such as Day By Day with their standard D lilting gloom. The verse is built on the mysterious, sultry progressions everyone knows and respects ASAGI for, and it’s the verse and guitar solo that are the heart of the song. Although I’m not blown away by the chorus, the general disarray of the song and the hearty emphasis on the drums, bass, and vocals made the track a refreshing break from the overdone eight-guitars-ultra- complex-riffs-guitar-hero stuff that has been so prevalent lately.

As with all of their work, the true joy of the title track lies in its details. The finale vocal break and guitar solo were both great. The energy of the piece is phenomenal…and not just in regards to quality. The quality was good, yes, but the amount of power and life that they packed into the brief 3 minutes and 44 seconds made the track like a tornado that tears through quickly, leaving a trail of mass destruction. I enjoyed this aspect of it a lot. Through the entire piece it’s as if you’re emotionally/energetically charging through the dark woods of a Grimm’s grim fairytale on a white stallion, rapier in one hand, microphone in the other, belting it out in Japanese.

By the time the whirlwind of In the name of justice ends, you feel like you accomplished a lot — I hardly did anything today, and after listening to just the first song I feel like I conquered a kingdom, saved the damsel in distress, killed a couple of dragons and discovered my lost twin sister who was raised in the neighboring kingdom to protect our inheritance. And I might almost need to pitch camp before charging right into Nightly Knights, but… somehow I think I can handle the badassness.

The ambient mood-setting opening for Nightly Knights didn’t need to be complicated or shredder-heavy to win me over. The echo effects, again with the focus on rhythm and interesting tribal stuff set up a dungeony stage for ASAGI’s hoarse growl, rollicking drums and intense bass work. Again with easing off the guitars and actually thinking through emphasis in the instrumentation, a move that lead to general interest throughout the piece. The effects and ornamentation were also quite cool and interesting. I particularly enjoyed the vocal layering on the bridge, and the vocals were generally great throughout, breaking from some of the more standard D fare. The chorus was fine, but definitely not my favorite part, as seems to be the case with much of D‘s recent work. That’s probably just me, though. Generally satisfying, and creditably different, the chorus passes the b-grade at least, which is enough to keep D easily in my good books.
The instrumental break and downplayed solo really messed with my head in the best way possible, and again with the way they eased back into the verses with grumpy growls and ethereal layering. The chunky instrumentation behind the deep, focused, serious vocals was pretty hardcore. Contrast to the preceding track, which felt like flailing along on some wild rollercoaster, Nightly Knights felt very knightly and focused indeed.

Moving along at a decent canter, Grand Master follows Nightly Knights without pausing for breath. Another strong opening, with a funky, rockin’ rhythm and a racing tempo to match its predecessors. In contrast to everything I said about their choruses above, Grand Master has a striking, heavy, powerful chorus. The only reason it doesn’t stand out more is because the song has virtually zero, nada, not a single perceptible instrumental change. There are no bridges, no breaks; just hectic, powerful, raw racing forward with reckless abandon.

The PV

Wolf howls, thunder and lightning, candlelight and a swollen heartbeat…what more can possibly be said for the PV? Except that whoever choreographed it didn’t, I guess, realize that in chess you technically only have two players, and although we might accept him as our one true king and uphold King Asagi and the Knights of the Round Table, Ruiza will never be able to stomach wearing a pair of pants long enough to ever pass for a Lancelot. That being said, the ridiculously, almost parody-like lack in quality and dimension of their PVs has been my only real issue with D of late. It really has felt like their PVS are getting steadily worse and increasingly more ’90s (and that’s enough of that, needless to say). However, I am glad to see a complete turn-around with In the name of justice. The PV is excellent quality, properly produced, and is so blatantly and unabashedly melodramatically Visual Kei in all its gothicy, neo-historicalness that you can’t help but get psyched over the sheer wonder of the feeling of something utterly stereotypical of that which you worship.

Overall the single is extremely cohesive. It flies by, and feels like each song is about one minute long…The context of the pieces is congruous, which makes it seem almost like varying chapters to one story, rather than just three independent songs put together. The hecticness of the entire thing is raw, fresh, and very new. The message of this single is definitely live fast, die young, and claim the throne. Here’s a white charger, Visualists, now go.

Nightly Knights D Uphold Visual Kei in the name of justice

11.17 in the name of justice / D

Although the transition from indie to major label roused some concern at the time, I’ve been pleasantly surprised to see that D has, so far, pulled through despite being caught in the clutches of Avex. While I’ve had nicer things to say than my critique of their latest ventures into tranny-dom, and their PVs seem to be getting steadily worse, their gory misadventures in ball gowns aside their music has remained unharmed, and their style has stayed compact and focused. They might be confused about the kanji for “women’s formalwear”, but at least they, unlike certain Visual Kei groups we could name, aren’t afraid to keep shredding. Their sound hasn’t lost its edge, and although apparently no one has told them we really don’t care that they can make happy songs too, it’s great to see a Visual Kei group riding their wave so strong, despite the dramatic fluctuations of the industry around them. If in the name of justice can top what they did with 7th Rose and Akaki Hitsuji Yoru ni Bansankai, then we’re good.

Besides, the album artwork is undeniably ill. Glad to see ASAGI has shelved the bustier for the season.

The single will be released on November 17th, in 3 types, including two tracks on the regular edition and three to the limited: in the name of justice, Nightly Knights, Grand Master (type B), Yoru no Me to Ginyushijin (type C) and in the name of justice (voiceless).

Although it’s not their most innovative or memorable piece, and is certainly no 7th Rose, their latest release, Akaki Hitsuji Yoru ni Bansankai has a somewhat better PV, and is a decent track.

D Gets Bustier With Each New Release

D for 7th Rose

D‘s recent activity has been a mixed bag for me. They got quite a makeover for their latest releases album 7th Rose and the up-coming (their 7th single) Akaki Hitsuji ni Yoru Bansankai. However, what’s new for a band oh-so-familiar with black leather slightly dom Gothica, has been tried and tired by our own little historical-fiction genre of bands such as Versailles~PQ~ and solo artist Kaya. I’m slightly disappointed to see that the only apparent changes to D‘s look since 7th Rose has been to add, well, to put it frankly, busts to his bustier.

Some added 'oomph' for 7th single

While I wouldn’t say that D has ever had the most creativity insofar as their image changes go, I’m just profoundly bored with this needless dominatrix drag. If a man wants to wear a dress, or bustier, for that matter, I wish him joy in it, and I will always have, and have always had, a deep appreciation for HIZAKI, Kaya, Mana, and other leading dragsters. However, in my biased and heavily judgmental opinion, I feel like the above mentioned artists have so personalized the style that now for D to attempt to pull it off feels like a desperate cry for attention. In the same way that I appreciate our favorite men in tights, I will always have a reigning admiration for a Visual Kei artist who is confident he can be popular without masquerading as Marie Antoinette.

On the other hand, I would like to add that although I hope I can go until their next makeover without ever having to look at the band again, I think that D has been able to carefully retain their creativity in the musical department. When I first heard the new album 7th Rose, I was skeptical at best. Once I gave it a 2nd chance, however, I was able to find so much to like about the album that all of my doubts were instantly put at rest. As long as they keep making music like this, ASAGI’s ridiculous dress and Ruiza’s equally obnoxious headdress will be forgiven…well…accepted, anyway.

Akaki Hitsuji ni yoru Bansankai will be released on July 28th, and the band will hit up 4 more dates for a second major tour, beginning with a sold-out show in Ebisu on July 18th.

D 2nd Major Tour – Spiral Castle-

Spiral Castle ~Second Door~
2010/07/18 LIQUIDROOM ebisu
16:00 / 17:00
Tickets: SOLD OUT

Spiral Castle ~Third Door~
2010/09/04 Akasaka BLITZ
17:00 / 18:00
Tickets: On sale July 25th

Spiral Castle ~Fourth Door~
2010/09/21 OSAKA MUSE

OPEN/START: 18:00 / 19:00
Tickets: On sale August 7th

Spiral Castle ~Fifth Door~
2010/09/22 Nagoya ell.FITS ALL
18:30 / 19:00
Tickets: On sale August 8th

Akaki Hitsuji ni Yoru Bansankai / D

Translation/source: neumania

D: Please Do Samurai, Not Versailles

…That being said, however, the moderate “bleh” ness of the 7th Rose PV is sort of redeemed by new single Kaze ga Mekuru PAGE‘s PV. Yes, it’s one of those happy, upbeat with-a-Goth-twist songs that is faintly dissonant and mentally disconcerting to anyone who thought they had a firm grip on their understanding of reality, but that’s a good thing. ASAGI and co. look so much more badass in hakama and kimono than they do in poofy Hizaki hand-me-down prom gowns and super pasty makeup.

 Yes, the guitar riffs are nothing special, and the vocals threaten, at times, to lurch into the usual happy-D-song medium, but Kaze ga has a good vibe, and actually sounds like a confidentally composed song. In fact, it sounds like one of their more “Jrock”y pieces, with a guitar pattern that almost rings of GACKT…two artists I thought I would never dare to mix in one post. Anyway, the song is good, and the PV is (very D) elegant…

D New PV: Bouquet of Hizaki’s Evil

New PV out for D‘s brand new album’s title song, 7th Rose. The title is also claimed by the nationwide tour the band just embarked on, starting a few days ago, to promote the album, and also new single Kaze ga Mekuru PAGE.

To be honest, I feel a little disappointed by the PV. Another haunted-looking Western mansion interior setting, with unflattering, ghostly shots of the band members, a fair dosage of boy’s love, and some suspiciously gangster-esque hand gestures from Asagi during his screen time. It feels low budget, and not in a grunge-cool way. Also, I heave sighs of deepest ennui to see Asagi jumping the devil-Hizaki bandwagon with the big red dress. Back before their major label asked them to become mainstream, the D boys pulled off drag in a really cool, covert way by donning corsets and Gothica with midriff baring boleros studded with buckles and general evilness, platform boots, and frilly skirts that could have passed as man-skirts were they not worn by super-bishi commando Ruiza.

 That’s not to say that I hate the PV– I don’t. I just find it disappointing that even these guys are jumping the bandwagon. And they were so cool and edgy…