giru goes global

Although we’re only halfway through February, I’m already impressed by the amount of overseas activity I’ve seen announced. Compared to the typical moaning and groaning of global Visualists moping about the lack of Jrock in their local livehouses, 2011 is already proving itself to be a promising year for international J-metal moshing.

First we heard of D setting out to vamp up Europe and one of our own hulking southern states with their worldwide debut. Then MIYAVI announced another European tour to promote the release of album WHAT’S MY NAME. The cherry on top was almost headline news that exist trace will be making an appearance at Seattle’s SakuraCon. Almost. But not quite.

On February 5th, controversial cherry-boys girugamesh turned a few Visualist realities (including mine) upside down with the release of not only European tour dates for their 2o11 world tour, but also the mind-blowing confirmation that they will, in fact, be performing at the East Coast’s own Anime Boston (April 22-24). I have no more mind left to be blown. Or so I thought. giru is very, very slowly leaking at least a few more US dates, beginning by tacking a Pennsylvania show on right after they blow up Boston. The boys will share the Starlight Ballroom (Philadelphia, PA) stage with Acey Slade & The Dark Party, who opened for D’espairsRay at their Webster Hall live last year

Although more dates are still in doubt, so far things are looking up for at least a modest US tour- major cities might stand to hold their breath, as I wouldn’t be surprised to see giru hit up the usual hot-spots. But remember, that’s simply my assumption, and if they don’t announce other dates/cities, I refuse to be held responsible for any sense of false hope instilled in your tender Visualist heart.

girugamesh WORLD TOUR 2011 “Here we go!!”

EUROPE DATES
03.05 Tochka / Moscow, Russia
03.06 GlavClub / St.Petersburg, Russia
03.08 Nosturi / Helsinki, Finland
03.11 Columbia Club / Berlin, Germany SOLD OUT!
03.12 Diesel / Budapest, Hungary
03.13 Backstage / Munich, Germany SOLD OUT!
03.15 La Laiterie / Strassbourg, France
03.16 Le Trabendo / Paris, France
03.18 O2 Academy Islington / London, UK
03.19 Zeche / Bochum, Germany SOLD OUT!

USA DATES
04.22 Anime Boston 2011 / Hynes Convention Center, Boston, MA

04.25 Starlight Ballroom / Philadelphia, PA
With Acey Slade & The Dark Party
Tickets

04.26 Crash Mansion / New York, NY *NEW*
With….Acey Slade & The Dark Party? Presumably.
Tickets

04.27 Jaxxroxx / Springfield, VA *NEW*
With Acey Slade & The Dark Party
Tickets

JAPAN DATES
06.04 Hiroshima Namiki Junction
06.06 Nagoya Electric Lady Land
06.08 Osaka umeda AKASO
06.10 Fukuoka DRUM Be-1
06.18 Sendai Darwin

GRAND FINAL
6.26 Zepp Tokyo

Honestly, the reason it took so long for me to post the announcement was because every time I tried to articulate the news, it came out something like awuhetralksjfvkjalhwe7cbytnle98i3784tGIRUGAMESHjhdgflajhg. Considering giru has long been on my Top 5 Bands to See Live Before I Die list, I was (and still am) incredibly stoked to hear that they will at least be shredding through the US to shred a few stages. Although I originally had plans in place to head out to Seattle for exist trace, fortunately I saw the girugamesh announcement before plane tickets were acquired and cons were reg’ed, and was able to do a 180 turn around and head for Boston. Am psyched for the show, and def hoping for a balanced mix of old and new tracks…More on the latter coming soon, so, as always, keep reading SG.

girugamesh bounces back

It would seem that it’s about that time again. Summer is coming to a close, bringing with it the papery chill of Autumn. With the turnover from summer, the new round of fall tours, events, and releases start to come tumbling down from the skies of Visual Kei like leaves on a windy October day.

One of those bands whose seasonal turn-around we have most been anticipating, is the extremely versatile, ever-changing and experimenting bad-boy roundup girugamesh. They recently released their new look, and a teaser for the new single, titled Inochi no Ki (Tree of Life), and appropriately depicted by a…er..dead tree. Let’s take a look at their new digs:

Wow, well, first of all, I have to say Nii and his hats keep improving. That over-sized sock he was wearing on his head for about, what? 8 singles? has finally transformed into a classy fedora. Those are in, by the way. Honestly, Satoshi’s outfits don’t change that much. Although he’s cut-off mid-torso here, I’d bet my last penny he’s wearing black ski— wait. Aren’t there too many blonds in this picture?

As for the song… Like Nii’s hobo headwear, giru‘s sound continues to develop and advance. I’m extremely pleased to hear that they’ve gone back to their hardcore sound. Those rap elements are still there, which shows Ryo’s experimental nature is still running rampant. However, it’s good to hear Satoshi’s voice getting that edge back, as I thought he was going soft for a while there. Although, I thought it was something other than ‘luck’ that he was saying. Just Engrish, I guess?

All in all, I think it’s inspiring to see that, although we had a brief lapse with the release of mediocre COLOR, the boys are bouncing back with more of their original sound. I think it was right to stand by girugamesh and continue supporting their creative expression. I can’t wait for Inochi no Ki to land, and I hope the b-sides are just as good as the title track.

Admit it. You can’t deny the resemblance.

girugamesh, what have you done.

You all may have noticed by now that I really like doing this…That is, criticizing the hell out of songs based on their 40 second previews. This irresponsible practice usually results in hypocrisy later, when the full PV is released or I get the single and end up really enjoying it. I can’t help it, though. That 40 seconds can rack up a lot of opinions faster than L’arc~En~Ciel can sell out the Tokyo Dome.

Lately the band who has been perched most precariously on my chopping-block would have to be the be-harem-panted girugamesh, who started experimenting musically starting a couple of years back, ended up in some hot water with latest album NOW, and….got stuck there.

I had a ton of expectations for giru, and high hopes that they wouldn’t release more b-average tunes, and would actually make a reasonable comeback, slapping everyone who bad-talked their recent work right in the smug face. Oh giru, what have you done. Here is the preview of their highly-anticipated new title COLOR.

Here are all of my opinions so far:

According to Ryo’s suspiciously-busy Twitter feed, the band has been going non-stop in the studio recording and writing. And this is what they came up with?! It sounds like 3 different songs off of NOW, the names of which I can’t remember, because when you take songs like that and mash them together, it’s much harder to tell where one started and another ended. To be fair, I like the heavy grunge instrumentation. However, the melody…sounds like every single other melody giru ever wrote.

You can also hear the full extent of b-side SUNRISE, which was filmed live at their performance for JROCK GOES ROUND THE WORLD. I like this song way better than the a-side. Parts of the instrumentation felt fresh and interesting– parts of it reminded me of Driving Time. The vocals were okay, and the instrumental-break was actually really cool.

I know everyone wants to blame the “label” the “management” and everything…but really, I’m interested to know what’s actually going on here. These are obviously some sincere and very talented young guys, and they have made some awesome music. They have a unique and powerful sound, and a cool image. Was their run really that short? I mean, at least regurgitate music from albums that were awesome…

Single COLOR to be released by the one band that has never worn color in their entire existence

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm…..


So is that what this is. Finally information pertaining to girugamesh‘s July single release has been released. But honestly, at this point I couldn’t care less about the track-list. Honestly, I’ve already decided to buy the single, so as far as that goes, it’s not like I was waiting around for anything. However, there is something vitally more important that happens when new singles come out (particularly at seasonal-junctures): the band changes their look.

I see what you did there, Visual Kei. I take it back. I take back all of the 5 scathing posts, the unflattering pictures (in my defense, isn’t it your responsibility to always look flattering on film?), and every wrong I’ve ever done The Perm. Just take the freaking hats off. For anyone who hasn’t seen any other mad-hatters running around, for their latest single LOVE IS DEAD, D’espairsRay vocalist Hizumi was also pimpin’ a hat. Granted, he looked more like a 1920s gender-confused mafioso rather than some sort of hobo (lookin’ at you, Nii). That said, however, because I think the new look is really quite cool and moving in the direction of fashionable, I’m going to let them off easy this time. Oh, and because it would appear that Nii finally got off the streets– maybe he’s just hiding a bald-spot now.

Satoshi's new digs

Again, I think the look of all the members this time around is actually quite cool. It’s downplayed and casual– denim, the signature black skinny pants, etc. The simplicity is cool because although the outfits probably aren’t anything you couldn’t see on the streets of a chic Tokyo neighborhood, within the scope of Visual Kei they feel fresh and minimalistic-stylish. A lot of the more vet bands these are starting to lay off the psychotic peacock hair-styles and everything…I’m not saying anything against those styles, as I think many of them are quite awesome as well, it’s just that as bands mature, I respect it when they can adapt their look as well. I’m also digging Satoshi’s lack of visible makeup. I guess I can stop secretly referring to him as “Raccoon”.

Ryo

And yes, I do happen to be rebelling against Visual Kei typography by refusing to type his name with a backwards R.

And Shuu is….Shuu. What can I say? Well, let me try: the harem pants will never die? The harem pants should have died? Most metro-sexual people understand the general rule that one does not pair a baggy T-shirt with harem pants? The harem pants should be left in Aladdin? Unfortunately I was a bit disappointed with this final look.

SUMMER SINGLE RELEASE INFORMATION: “COLOR

Limited Type

Track-list:

01. COLOR
02. sunrise

Regular Type

01. COLOR
02. sunrise
03. フラワー (Flower)

On that note, though, I was not disappointed remotely by their cover designs. After NOW‘s total failure of an album cover, I was lying awake at night biting my nails over how they would scar us with the new one. It looks like they’ve captured their new theme/style well both look-wise and in the cover. No scarring– just more gloomy cool. I personally prefer the Ltd. type (which is weird, because for some reason I often prefer the regular type). I think their pose is cooler, and the color scheme is undeniable.

The single is released on 7/7. Make sure not to order along with any GACKT related product if you ever want to get your copy…. UNTITLED [w/ DVD, Limited Edition / Jacket A] / girugamesh

Source: official Facebook, neumania

girugamesh summer single update

Not to say they didn't have issues in '08 *coughHOODIEScough*

Crabby emo wannabe-techno-rappers band girugamesh are due for a summer single, which will hit international postal services on July 7th. Out of all the singles that I’m anticipating this summer, girugamesh‘s is probably the one I’m looking forward to the most. As I mentioned earlier, after their latest full-length album NOW was rejected as readily as it was celebrated. Do to the iffy-ness of the album, I, at least, am putting a lot of pressure (psychologically, of course. After the perm incident I have a lot of faith in my abilities to use mental waves to influence the decisions of Jrockers, for better or for worse…) on  giru to release a real smasher.

girugamesh // “Title TBA” July 7 ’10

UNTITLED [w/ DVD, Limited Edition / Jacket A] / girugamesh

So the information is finally out: The limited CD+DVD version will feature 2 songs, and the DVD will show live footage from their January 31st live at Shinkiba STUDIO COAST. It will also come with a 60 minute tour documentation of their “This is “NOW” 2010 tour!” JPY 2,625.

The regular edition of the single will feature 3 songs, for JPY 1,260. You have to trade a song for all the generous DVD stuff. That didn’t win points with me. (Just kidding).

Something else that I’m really looking forward to with this single is a, I hope, style revamp for the guys. While I have no qualms with their choice of look from the neck down, it’s everything north of that that pushes just about every button available. I finally came to terms with Satoshi’s unholy perm after months of obsessing over it, and it’s true, I got down on my knees and thanked the higher powers when Ryo took out his cornrows…But then something happened to the two other members, Shuu and Nii. Shuu was obviously held at gunpoint and forced to don that horrible invention that should have been left in a certain Disney movie– that is, the harem pant. The second strange thing that occurred was that Nii was apparently overcome with a fit of horrific dementia which resulted in him attacking some miserable roadside tramp and stealing their dilapidated bucket-hat. As punishment for this rash behavior, the unfortunate guitarist was forced by his agency to wear the thing in public. We, as his fans, suffered with him.

Oh. And they put one more freaking toe-head kid on their album cover, and I will refuse to buy it.

Pressure’s on, guys.

girugamesh Stays at Home Summer ’10

+Updated 5/31+

Dates for girugamesh‘s summer tour 2010 were published this morning. For everyone who expected their winter/spring Japan tour to be followed up with something a little more international…sorry. I mourn with you.

However, the good news is (depending on how you felt about NOW, that is…) that a new single has been confirmed for Summer. The details have yet to be announced, but the teaser confirmation is out!

girugamesh SUMMER TOUR 2010 Dates

2010.7.2(fri) SOLD OUT
Harajuku ASTRO HALL

OPEN 18:00 / START 19:00

2010.7.6(tue) SOLD OUT
Nagoya HUCK FINN

OPEN 18:00 / START 19:00

2010.7.8(thu) SOLD OUT
Nishikujo BRAND NEW

OPEN 18:00 / START 19:00

2010.7.10(sat) SOLD OUT
Okayama PEPPER LAND

OPEN 17:00 / START 18:00

2010.7.11(sun)
Hiroshima Bad Lands

OPEN 17:00 / START 18:00

2010.7.13(tue)
Fukuoka DRUM SON

OPEN 18:00 / START 19:00

2010.7.15(thu) SOLD OUT
Himeji MUSHROOM

OPEN 18:00 / START 19:00

2010.7.17(sat)
Tokushima club GRINDHOUSE

OPEN 17:00 / START 18:00

2010.7.21(wed)
Kanazawa VanVan V4

OPEN 18:00 / START 19:00

2010.7.23(fri)
Nigata CLUB JUNK BOX mini

OPEN 18:00 / START 19:00

2010.7.25(sun)
Sendai MACANA

OPEN 17:00 / START 18:00

2010.7.28(wed)
Sapporo COLONY

OPEN 18:00 / START 19:00

2010.8.11(wed) SOLD OUT
Shibuya O-WEST

OPEN 18:00 / START 19:00

2010.8.12(thu) SOLD OUT
Shibuya O-WEST

OPEN 18:00 / START 19:00

NO MUSIC NO REASON

I don’t know about you– but they got my life in one.

Although they began as a pretty tough-nut Visual Kei band , since 2008 girugamesh has been making some major image changes– which is only natural. Think of just how often you change your wardrobe, hair-style, or blog-banner. People get tired of something and want to move on, expand, challenge themselves. It would be a bit cruel of fans to expect bands to stay exactly the same forever, regardless of changing perspectives and interests. Fans hoped this wouldn’t effect girugamesh‘s edgy, garage Visual Kei music too much, but with 2009’s release, it’s becoming apparent that they are indeed playing around with their musical style as well. The hardcore edginess of girugamesh and 13’s Reborn has been smoothed out quite a bit in their more recent work, and NOW is testing new waters completely.

NOW / girugamesh

Given that Crying Rain was such an excellent single, by the time I got my hands on NOW, I had already set my standard pretty high. Not being one to judge a CD by it’s album cover, I put the toe-head out of sight and out of mind, and banked on the lean 9 tracks to be follow-ups in quality to the perfect single and b-side that preceded it.

The album opens with now(intro), a quirky electronicky track that kicks things off with a positive message.

(Spoken) “Nothing begins. If you don’t love yourself….nothing begins. If you don’t take an action… so before you regret just follow us…NOW!

The words explode into some mixed up thrasher riffs and technologicized bits and pieces that get steadily more persistent until they techno-out into the mixed up beginning beats of the second track, short shredder bit crash.

bit crash is a bit more like the girugamesh we expect. Although nothing original, the driving metal chords and Satoshi’s scratchily screamoed rap give the song some body. That established, however, the aforementioned body holds out for the rest of the (2:22 long) song without much variation, and feels like more of a continuation of the intro than the crash-and-kill first real song.

The progression of the songs is going nicely so far. Third in the lineup, NO MUSIC NO REASON has some more of that typical giru sound: steady drum, standard giru guitar with effects, and Satoshi’s irresistibly Visualistic vocals– flowing easily from more scratchy rap stuff to his characteristic full-on melodic rises and falls. The instrumental break isn’t breaking news, but has some seriously head-bangable solid riffs, connected by the intertwining DNA of turn-table mixing that will flow from beginning to end of the album.

NO MUSIC NO REASON sets us up for a nice chunk of catchy stuff. Fourth song, I think I Can Fly is kind of low-key, but really catchy and has some real charisma. The vocals and how they work with the bass and effects are the heart of the song, and the chorus, although simple, is interesting and cool. The piece has an energetic confidence and quality of suaveness that makes for an interesting and worthy experience. In my opinion, I Think I Can Fly is one of the gems of the album. All the grim swagger of Visual Kei with the “press-repeat-ability” of engaging rock’n’roll.

Gentle cymbals flutter our rockin’ wings on into BEAST. How to put this without sounding judgmental….okay, there’s no way, I just have to say it: the whole album is not nice. And by “not nice”, I mean that it is like one of those people who you meet, who really does nothing to make you like them. Or even want to like them. Although quite a few of the songs have an initial aloofness that may not lure you in at first, after several (or many, depending on how adaptable/desperate/unbiased you are) listen-throughs of the tracks, you can’t help but begin to feel attracted to them. Do you think this is similar to dating goths?

BEAST is like this. When I first heard it, I admit it– I skipped it. I wasn’t in the mood for what threatened to be a potentially annoying track. One of the heavier pieces, BEAST has some drive, but the woman’s voice addition turned me off in the beginning. Prepare to get over this and enjoy the track for what it is– more shameless headbanging material.

Wow, only four songs left. After BEAST we have nobody. Unto itself, nobody is a respectable ballady piece. Pretty much typical girugamesh fair as far as the moody melancholica goes, but it’s a decent song. The only complaint I have about it is that the guitar riffs, while being kind of unusual and interesting for girugamesh, are old-school the GazettE. The riffs are exactly the same as the acoustic guitar piece in album NIL’s intro The End. While there’s nothing particularly wrong or immoral about this (on that note, I don’t know anything about morals anyway, so I’m hardly a good judge of what is or is not considered immoral or unethical behavior. After all, being a writer and reader, I am quite well acquainted with the practice of the oh-so-denounced-yet-practiced plagiarism…I have never done it intentionally, that is, but I could name a hundred well-known authors who have [close call…].), I felt a bit disappointed by the band. Maybe they didn’t realize that they borrowed the same notes, or maybe they did. Until they tell us, we’ll never know. In the meantime I’ll just have to swallow my bitterness, enjoy my CD, and expect better from the giru gang next time. I know they can do it.

The final three songs that tie up the album are suiren (NOW version), DIRTY STORY, and arrow. Revamped ballad, powerhouse thrasher, and the finale, which starts out a disappointment, and halfway through hits home as quite a pleasant surprise–respectively.

Sure, it may not be the next best thing since Christmas, but it’s a terrific finish for the wishy-washy selection of pieces. It bridges the slightly awkward, hormonal and potentially angsty ballads and angry thrasher tracks really cleanly, with a moody melody that has a very rhythmic and cool verse line paired with a high-paced, tense instrumental backing. The solo/instr. break is heavy but tidy, back into a girugamesh chorus like the ones we like. The prize really lies in the verses, and the vocal switch that happens when there’s about 3o seconds left to the piece. The final chord is struck, and left ringing in our ears, the album closes.

Although there are some catchy tracks, such as NO MUSIC NO REASON, I Think I Can Fly, and the initially obnoxious but increasingly fun BEAST, the album has no real meat, no tension, to dig into. The mellow, easy pace of a good portion of the tracks really kept things low-profile, and scattered throughout those, the heavier tracks felt obtrusive and slightly raucous. NOW is fun, but has a faintly superficial, B-side feel.

To be fair– NOW is a lighthearted venture into girugamesh (if you ever thought such a thing was possible), and while it may not appeal to core fans, Jrockers may enjoy the “hardcore-lite” album and a dip into ballad-plentiful “pop Visual Kei” (you also thought that didn’t exist…admit it.).

I really enjoy what they’re doing with the mixing/scratching and tasteful essence of rap. Satoshi has indisputably cool and interesting vocals– he could sing anything (aside from maybe Christmas carols?) and we would listen. For all my strut and toughness with this one, really all I wanted was a little more creativity and something that felt fresh and bold. I’m glad I have the CD, and I will enjoy it as a decent disc of music– because when it comes down to it, that’s basically what it is. And that’s good.

Ultimate conclusion: With only 9 tracks, most of which don’t even reach 4 minutes long, and no real “meat” to bite into, NOW feels more like a fleeting instance in Jrock time than the defining moment of our existence on earth.

girugamesh official website [Jp, English]

girugamesh official MySpace [English, incl. blog]

Member’s Official Blog: CRAZY BLOG [Jp]