DIR EN GREY // Twenty years of “Wearing Human Skin”

Last January DIR EN GREY dropped their absolutely MASSIVE greatest hits album which contained a total of 44 songs from their entire career so far, all of them being voted onto the album by the fans. The reason for this absolute beast of a project was the 20th anniversary of the band, and as an extra gift they also re-recorded three of the songs found on the album.

But while that’s nothing short of impressive and fun, fans of the group were also looking forward to the new works of the guys. DIR EN GREY are known to be experimental (heck, they even created an entire career based on that concept alone) so you never really know what they’re going to do next.
The prayers were heard, and turned into a new single called “人間を被る” (Ningen wo Kaburu), or “Wearing Human Skin” in English. The single contains a brand new song, a re-recording of one of the very first songs, and a live recording of a more recent song. Additionally, the single was released in four different versions: a CD only “regular” version, a “limited deluxe” version with a live DVD or Blu-ray with 9 songs, and a “limited first press” version with a live DVD with 3 songs.

For today’s review we’re going to look at the regular edition of the single though, simply because this version has the most “interesting” information for a review.

 

人間を被る (Ningen wo Kaburu)

As you know already from the introduction, the guys from DIR EN GREY have been making music together for over twenty years now, which means they’re very well aware of each other’s skills. And “人間を被る” (Ningen wo Kaburu) is an excellent example of this knowledge because despite their experimental work. Like most of their work from the recent years, the emphasis is on the heavier side of the spectrum, but 京 (Kyo)’s vocals aren’t just in the growl and scream category. The long high notes we’ve became familiar with over the recent years are still very much a part of the current version of DIR EN GREY.

 

ASH

“ASH” was first released in 1998, so with the 20th anniversary still being fresh in everyone’s mind it’s not really a surprise to see this song specifically make an appearance as a new version of itself on this single.
DIR EN GREY’s sound has evolved quite a bit throughout the years, so it’s no surprise that they’ve pulled one of their very first works into their current world. If you like the current sound of DIR EN GREY then “ASH” will definitely appeal to you in this form, and if you’re familiar with the original version you will still recognize it today. “ASH” has been given a facelift, and now it’s good to go for many years to come. The lyrics might tell a different story, but this facelift alone tells it’s own version of “20 years of DIR EN GREY”.

 

詩踏み (Utafumi) [LIVE]

Despite being a live version rather than a studio recording of the song, it’s a perfect introduction to what you can expect from DIR EN GREY’s live shows. While the start of the song announces this is the “last song” it doesn’t feel like it’s a sprint to the finish in the slightest. There is just as much power and determination as any other song they have played, both in the studio or during a live show. If you’ve never been to a live show of DIR EN GREY before, recordings like this give you a great impression of what it’s like, but of course, nothing compares to the real deal. 😉

 

Conclusion

“人間を被る” (Ningen wo Kaburu) is a single that flies by so fast you can hardly believe you’re already at the last song, and whether it was intentional or not, the repeat function of any player makes “詩踏み” (Utafumi) transition into “人間を被る” (Ningen wo Kaburu) almost seamlessly, so there definitely is some replay value to be found here.
If you’re a fan of the group there’s nothing you haven’t heard from them before, it’s a solid single that is enjoyable if you like the current direction, and if you don’t like the current direction then you know what you can expect as well. DIR EN GREY are one of the most reliable bands in terms of sound, which is a little funny if you keep in mind that their genre relies heavily on the experimental aspect, but sometimes they do throw a curveball you don’t see coming.

In their own words: “They’ve sewed a lot of wounds together” throughout the years, “and finished making this evil lump”. But have they made the worst of the worst? In my opinion no.
Whether you’re a long time fan or a newcomer who’s checking out the band’s works for the first time: there is something in here for you, but it’s on the heavier side of the spectrum. Maybe it’s the guitars for you, or the bass or drums. Maybe even the vocals. But DIR EN GREY have the power to appeal to many, many different listeners and preferences, and they are all simply wearing their human skin, just like we are.

 

Release information

Are you interested in supporting the band by getting your own copy of the release? Here is something to get you started:

人間を被る (Ningen wo Kaburu)
(Limited First Press Version)
01. 人間を被る (Ningen wo Kaburu)
02. Ash
03. 詩踏み [LIVE] (Utafumi)

DVD
01. Un deux (TOUR16-17 FROM DEPRESSION TO ________ [mode of KISOU] live)
02. Revelation of mankind (TOUR16-17 FROM DEPRESSION TO ________ [mode of UROBOROS] live)
03. Sustain the untruth (TOUR16-17 FROM DEPRESSION TO ________ [mode of Withering to death.] live)
人間を被る (Ningen wo Kaburu)
(Limited Deluxe Version)
01. 人間を被る (Ningen wo Kaburu)
02. Ash
03. 詩踏み [LIVE] (Utafumi)

DVD
01. Chain repulsion (TOUR14 PSYCHONNECT -mode of “GAUZE”? live)
02. 禍夜想 (Magayasou) (TOUR16-17 FROM DEPRESSION TO ________ [mode of VULGAR] live)
03. Phenomenon (TOUR16-17 FROM DEPRESSION TO ________ [mode of DUM SPIRO SPERO] live)
04. Un deux (TOUR16-17 FROM DEPRESSION TO ________ [mode of KISOU] live)
05. Revelation of mankind (TOUR16-17 FROM DEPRESSION TO ________ [mode of UROBOROS] live)
06. Midwife (TOUR16-17 FROM DEPRESSION TO ________ [mode of THE MARROW OF A BONE] live)
07. 鱗 (Uroko) (TOUR16-17 FROM DEPRESSION TO ________ [mode of MACABRE] live)
08. Sustain the untruth (TOUR16-17 FROM DEPRESSION TO ________ [mode of Withering to death.] live)
09. 人間を被る (Ningen wo Kaburu) (Scenes From Recording)
人間を被る (Ningen wo Kaburu)
(Regular Version)
01. 人間を被る (Ningen wo Kaburu)
02. Ash
03. 詩踏み [LIVE] (Utafumi)

Artist: DIR EN GREY
Release: 人間を被る (Ningen wo Kaburu) (single)
Release date: April 25, 2018
CD number: SFCD-222 (Limited Deluxe with Blu-ray) / SFCD-224 (Limited Deluxe with DVD) / SFCD-226 (Limited edition with DVD) / SFCD-228 (Regular edition)

 

雪 (Yuki) is the owner and driving force behind both Arlequin Magazine and Arlequin Photography.  
She started in 2009 as a photographer with Arlequin Photography, but due to a growing interest in journalism, translation and behind-the-scenes work in general the project burst out of it's seams in 2021 and expanded through the addition of Arlequin Magazine.

雪 (Yuki) is a native Dutch speaker and maintains both the English and Dutch sections of both Magazine and Photography with original content, translations and photography as well as all the behind-the-scenes work for both websites.
She speaks Dutch, English, Japanese and German.

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