March 15, 2012

12012 Release Self-Titled Dir en grey Cover Album

You rarely hear me spilling nice words about 12012 nowadays, which is because they once made hot shit like this or that, and then went on to produce crap like this. Also because their vocalist almost strangled a girl once. Now, after going on hiatus for a year and a half the guys return with their new album "12012", likely called like that so everyone is convinced that this album presents 12012 in their purest form.

But guess what? As early previews already indicated, the sound of 12012 is mostly defined by hardcore copy-and-pasting now. Just look how "heavily influenced" by Limp Bizkit they must have been when writing "Hesitation". Or what about their daring cover of Dir en grey's "Saku", called "Suicide"?

In fact, most of this new album sounds as if they listened to Dir en grey's latest album "Dum Spiro Spero" for their entire hiatus and then decided to go down the exact same path for their comeback. Wataru's voice is suddenly screaming heavily and growling fiercely in almost every single song, and the guitars and drums follow the same patterns, have the same sound, and play the same sequences like some that you can hear on "Dum Spiro Spero". It's as blatant and creatively dead as you can imagine. I guess their former second guitarist Suga already suspected what the other guys were up to when he left the band in December 2010.

While I will agree that they already had a way rougher sound in their early days, and while I will also agree that not every song on this album is totally forgettable, the amount of stuff they copied is both utterly obvious and stunning at the same time. What's equally sad is that the best songs are those that sound more like the 12012 of recent years, like "Suiren", which comes off as a pretty nice ballad, yet still feels like a rather uninspired re-imagining of many of their older ballads. But you can easily count the moments where you don't feel like listening to a sub-par Dir en grey cover band on one hand.

See, I'm not a big fan of going around and complaining that band A sounds like band B all day, and much of J-rock effectively sounds the same; I get that. But 12012 have taken it quite a bit too far on "12012", which isn't very much 12012 at all. And they could do so much better. Wataru's strength isn't what he's doing here. "Suicide", "Baal-zebul", "Abuse", "Jazetsu", "Ferocious", "Hide & Seek", and "Madman", they all sound the same and are as interchangeable as their "evil" titles. And these are my main gripes with "12012".

12012 – "Saku"

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