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.

Cowboys Vs. Vampires

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: D is one band that I am always glad to see flourishing in the Visual Kei industry. Despite concerns about their move to major, the band has continued to do well, both in terms of increasing their international presence and following, as well as continuing to maintain and preserve their signature melodramatic Goth sound and style. A few moments of much-repented doubt, and several ridiculously horrible PVs aside, I have been nothing but impressed by the recent work D has put out, as well as by their ability to continue to sound, and look, fresh and inspired without losing touch.

I’ll admit, I had to spend hours practicing my poker-face before I felt confident in my ability to post this announcement in articulate, semi-fluent prose that at least aspires to cohesive sentences and properly formulated paragraphs. I won’t hide it – I’ve been waiting to make this announcement for a long time.

Today I am psyched to announce D‘s overseas debut with their first European tour, titled VAMPIRE SAGA in Europe ~ Path of the Rose ~“. Setting out on May 7th with a live in Paris, France, the EU will go goth with 10 performances. Coffins close on May 22nd in Helsinki, Finland.

“VAMPIRE SAGA in Europe ~ Path of the Rose ~”

05/07 Divan du Monde – Paris / France
05/08 Melkweg – Amsterdam / Netherlands
05/11 Logo – Hamburg / Germany
05/12 Firlej – Wroclow / Poland
05/14 Marche gare – Lyon / France
05/15 Feierwerk – Munich / Germany
05/17 Werkstatt – Cologne / Germany
05/19 Academy – London / UK
05/21 Toshka – Moscow / Russia
05/22 Gloria – Helsinki / Finland

North American cowboys don’t despair – D will also be making their first foray into the wild wild west in June, when they make an appearance at one of America’s largest anime conventions, the illustrious A-Kon in Dallas, Texas.

Home to many Visual Kei debuts and overseas appearances, A-Kon is a great starting place for the Vampire boy-wonders to make a strong first impression on Visualist and non-Visualist con-goers alike. Although yours truly will be spending that weekend wallowing in embittered concert-envy, I wish Texan (and traveling) Visualists much joy in this opportunity…Kind of.

A-Kon runs from June 10th – 12th, and is held at the Sheraton Hotel in Dallas. The website has yet to list official information, but stay posted .

To get stoked for the show, pick up a copy of D‘s latest original album, Vampire Saga, which hit shelves on January 12th.

A-Kon official website

Source: MusicJapan+

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.

Summer Single Shortlist

Let's see some summer shockers, please...

Hiroto’s (front right center) expression in this picture basically sums up how I’ve felt about most of the new stuff I’ve heard the past couple of months. For example, at first D’espairsRay‘s Love is Dead sounded passably cool until Jrockers net-wide reached the unanimous decision that it sounds too much like You Spin Me Round to actually make it casually listenable. Usually I try not to listen overly much to any Visual Kei that makes me think of Adam Sandler in the ’90s. It’s not that the single is bad or anything, because it’s not bad, it’s just that I, and I’m not sure about anybody else, have started feeling a bit lethargic about the recent releases. There have been quite a few “best-of” collections and “nyeh” status singles released lately, I need a real stunner lest I should go catatonic.

And before any devoted and emotional fans start frothing at the mouth– I do concede that there are some releases that I know would be unfair to include in this generalization.

I don’t usually organize release information like this, but since there are so many awesome bands releasing summer singles in the next few months, I thought it would be worth compiling instead of doing a million one-liner posts announcing them (which I pretty much never do).

Summer Releases (they had better be good..)

Alice Nine // “Untitled” 8.04.10

Their latest release was a best-of in late ’09. Now that the boys are off duty for a few minutes (in regards to touring) they can actually write some new music. Hana was a pretty good single before the best-of, and although it wasn’t particularly ground-breaking, even the B-side Cross Game was pretty cool.

Creature Creature // “Untitled” (album) 6.16.10

I didn’t buy the first album, because I’m afraid that I’ll wake up one night and find Morrie standing over my bed….But DEAD END rocks, and Tetsuya rocks. Not that that means that CC rocks. I always got a real kick out of the caption on an upload of their “Paradise” PV: “Tetsu is at it again, with his creepy looking band and creepier lead singer”. –BanhBaoX That all being said, I thought the song Kaze no Tou rocked. It was reminiscent of L’arc, but on an even deeper tier of emoism.

D // “Untitled” 6.30.10

After warming up considerably to their brand new album 7th Rose, I feel slightly more lenient with the goths.

GACKT // “Untitled” 6.16.10

He likes to keep everyone guessing.

girugamesh //”Untitled” ??.??.??

First real venture after everyone declared them sucking because of NOW. After NOW became one of my frequently listened-to albums, I realized that I don’t give a damn what the rest of the Jrock community says; you can bash giru all you like, and I will still buy their music. Just make the A-side feel like an A-side

MUCC // “Yakusoku” 6.09.10

I’m slightly give-or-take about MUCC on the best of days, but I feel like this one sounds like the anime theme song it was made to be (seriously).

VAMPS // “Devil Side” 5.12.10

When I saw the cover art for this in the sidebar of my blog, I thought “Who put this ero pic in my sidebar?!” I was appalled. Naked girls with devil-tails don’t appear there unless I say they do.

+ VAMPS // “Live 2009” (DVD) 5.12.10

I want a Region 2 encoded DVD player.  I seriously think my computer will take drastic action if I try and set it up to handle R2 DVDs.

+VAMPS // “Untitled” (single) 6.09.10

I hope nobody reports me for indecent imagery in the sidebar .

Tetsuya // “Roulette” 5.19.10

In contrast to Hyde becoming very vagabond, Tetsuya remains as well behaved as ever. Still, you can’t resist bass lines like that, nor can you really say no to his happy-go-luckiness, even though, if you’re anything like me, you’re a jaded, macabre, and demented Visualist.

The GazettE // Film Bug II (DVD) 8.04.10

Only seasoned Jrockers can call things “I” and “II” without actually presenting evidence as to a chronological system. Where is Film Bug I?

+The GazettE // NEXT SCENE 7.21.10

I hope I can redeem the shame of not even remembering the last thing they released by pre-ordering this one!

**Pick ’em up at my favorite spot**

Note: titles subject to change prior to release date. “Untitled” is pending the release of complete information.

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…