August 17, 2011

Top 10 Dir en grey Song Remakes

Japanese metal veterans Dir en grey have a fondness for remaking their own and favorite older songs. All three singles released to promote their latest album "Dum Spiro Spero" contained at least one remake, but the tradition has been going on for a long time now.

I bet some of you didn't know that they already have re-recorded so many songs, so let me show you my Top 10 Favorite Dir en grey Song Remakes – enjoy!

10. "Children"

Original: "Taiyou no ao" (Single, 2000)
Remake: "Six Ugly" (EP, 2002)

One of the first remakes by the band and both versions show a lot of differences, mainly affecting the whole mood of the song. The original appeared as a B-side on the "Taiyou no ao" single and still features a distinct "Gauze" groove. It's much more playful than the straighter and more powerful remake with a few more effects and atmospheric twists, especially during the chorus. The "Six Ugly" version feels has more funk elements and way better production, so it's difficult to choose a favorite version just because both are so different.

"Children" (2000)

"Children" (2002)

9. "Clever Sleazoid"

Original: "Clever Sleazoid" (Single, 2005)
Remake: "The Marrow of a Bone" (Album, 2007)

At the time of its release, "Clever Sleazoid" quickly became one of the hottest debated songs in the band's catalogue. The loud and crazy track, a wild frenzy of screaming and chunky, aggressive riffs, didn't appeal to many who had loved their former, more melodic singles like "Kasumi" and "The Final." Then the song appeared as a whole new recording on the following album two years later, complete with a rougher, more suppressed sound production, some instrumental changes and re-recorded vocals. The remake felt sloppier and more like a band cellar live recording, but it didn't really improve anything about the original version.

"Clever Sleazoid" (2005)

"Clever Sleazoid" (2007)

8. "Tsumi to batsu"

Original: "Gauze" (Album, 1999)
Remake: "Different Sense" (Single, 2011)

I have to admit that I never loved the original version of this early fan favorite – much rather the opposite. It's an aimless puzzle of weird sounds, different musical styles and rhythmic sequences that just won't fit into my picture of good music. The remake, however, is a totally different beast with ultra-deep growling, a dragging guitar basement and chunky bass lines. Contrary to its original version, the murky remake is mostly rejected by fans of the original, and I can see why. It feels more like a strange, creepy interlude than an actual song, but let me tell you one thing: it's great at a live show!

"Tsumi to batsu" (1999)

"Tsumi to batsu" (2011)

7. "Hydra"

Original: "Macabre" (Album, 2000)
Remake: "Dozing Green" (Single, 2007)

The original "Hydra" was an early fan favorite, especially at live shows. The trickling melody was less important than the many mosh parts, I guess, because nothing really happens during the verses. The remake follows the typical fashion of the more recent Dir en grey re-recordings and keeps close to the original, while updating most of it to the current sound of the band. With more growling and screams, more aggressive riffs and the better production, the remake is a clear winner to me.

"Hydra" (2000)

"Hydra 666" (2007)

6. "Byou ' ' Shin"

Original: "Missa" (EP, 1997)
Remake: "Six Ugly" (EP, 2002)

Couldn't find an early recording of the "Missa" version on YouTube, so you have to compare the newer version to a 1999 live, which still rocks! You will also easily spot the few differences – the popular remake on the even more popular "Six Ugly" EP is much cleaner, feels more coordinated and less playful than the original version. Kyo's vocals got a strong facelift, but the distinct trademark background vocals of the song are still where they belong. It's still one of the many remakes where fans mostly prefer the early version though, I guess.

"Byou ' ' Shin" (Live, 1999)

"Byou ' ' Shin" (2002)

5. "Shokubeni"

Original: "Vulgar" (Album, 2003)
Remake: "Hageshisa to, kono mune..." (Single, 2009)

"Shokubeni" belongs to the strongest titles on the popular "Vulgar" album and almost sounds like nowadays Dir en grey, only half as furious. It was no surprise they re-did this song on their 2009 single with the eternally long title, but they recorded it as a studio live one-take. The remake sounds just as awesome and is an almost perfect performance of the original with most of the changes in Kyo's growling vocals. The beautiful acapella solo part also shines in the remake, which is much appreciated. I would have loved if they changed some parts just out of curiosity, but you can't have everything.

"Shokubeni" (2003)

"Shokubeni (Shot In One Take)" (2009)

4. "Obscure"

Original: "Vulgar" (Album, 2003)
Remake: "Lotus" (Single, 2011)

Being a definite favorite of almost every fellow fan I know, the 2011 remake "Obscure" wasn't appreciated by as many people. The re-done song from the recent "Lotus" single is faster and received quite some changes especially concerning the rhythm and all of Kyo's vocals, compressing the song into a more compact but less diverse song. While a lot of the creepy atmosphere of the original went missing in the new version and the production could be a little better, I still like the remake and it also fits their current style much better than the original.

"Obscure" (2003)

"Obscure" (2011)

3. "Undecided"

Original: "Kisou" (Album, 2002)
Remake: "Glass Skin" (Single, 2008)

The surprising remake of this powerful, dramatic rock ballad surprised many followers when it was released on the "Glass Skin" single in 2008. It featured female background vocals, a more orchestral, light-hearted instrumental with a distinct bass and charming guitar notes – as if Gackt himself had produced it. Kyo's delivery is entirely different as well as many melodies, so you could almost think this was a whole new song. The beautiful chorus, however, didn't disappear and still shines in the new version. A lovely update of a lovely old song, and I love both.

"Undecided" (2002)

"Undecided" (2008)

2. "Rasetsukoku"

Original: "Macabre" (Album, 2000)
Remake: "Dum Spiro Spero" Ltd. Ed. (Album, 2011)

"Rasetsukoku" is a song that never really caught my attention back when I listened to the "Macabre" album. It was always more of a "yeah, it's alright, but nothing special" kind of song to me, but their remake totally made it great for me. Suddenly, the whole song somehow packs a lot more intensity, the sharp guitar riffs sound just awesome, and I think it really should have been the official closure for the new album, instead of being included on the limited edition bonus CD. Since I also saw them perform "Rasetsukoku" live in Bochum last weekend, I can't help but love this song and celebrate it whenever it launches. A great remake and almost my favorite one, if it weren't for...

"Rasetsukoku" (2000)

"Rasetsukoku" (2011)

1. "Zan"

Original: "Zan" (Single, 1999)
Remake: "Hageshisa to, kono mune..." (Single, 2009)

They really must have loved their fans when they remade this song, one of the band's three simultaneously released debut singles. Again, I really dislike the original, because it features that typical Kyo wackiness of the early days, the instrumental feels a bit sloppy, the production is bad, and the remake just makes everything better. I didn't expect to like the new version as much as I do now, but Dir en grey's current metalcore sound just fits the whole thing perfectly. I absolutely love the song's distinct changes in rhythm and pace, with the eerie guitar lines and those fierce riffs, and even Kyo's vocals are way more fun. The "Wizardry Version" on the recently released "Amon" photobook CD also received a new intro and a less heavy mix, and they even shot a new PV for the new song – a stylish remake of the old video. That's dedication!

"Zan" (1999)

"Zan" (2009)

I avoided remixes like "Jealous –Reverse–" or only slightly changed re-recordings like the "Ryoujoku no ame" album version for my list, but feel free to tell me about your favorite Dir en grey remakes and remixes in the comments!

2 Kommentare:

Drake Gibson said...

For me, I feel like the difference between the two versions of Hydra impacts the song's message much more than if it were a simple rehashing of soundwork. It's as if the song is a before and after image of the band, which gives it more gravity to me compared to a few of the others and hence probably a higher position on the list to me. :p

This is a bit of an older post, and though you've already reviewed The Unraveling, I won't bring up those remakes. I gotta know, though -- how would you say the new Kiri to Mayu fares in relation to this list?

Cliff said...

What you said about "Hydra" makes sense and the differences between the two versions are indeed numerous and interesting ones at that. I also like it a little better than #7 may indicate =)

About "Kiri to Mayu", I have to say that the original has never been one of the songs I liked very much. A lot of their very early songs like "I'll", "Jealous", and a few others just don't click with me at all, so I obviously prefer the remade "Kiri", although it's audibly one of the more basic, straight-out heavy remakes they probably had a lot of fun with. It's still nowhere near my more cherished titles, and it wouldn't rank high on this list. Maybe I'd replace the "Clever Sleazoid" entry with it, although I like "Children" a lot more.

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