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Dir En Grey: (Not Just) Big In Japan

Dir En Grey's frontman on how the band tore up the J-metal rulebook

Some music just isn't meant to be heard by human ears. Much like Strapping Young Lad's earlier incarnations, Dir En Grey have built a career on caustic, unclassifiable blasts of metal mixed with choruses that actually sound like, well, choruses.

“Unlike music up to Dum Spiro Spero, we’ve tried to create music easier on the ears [that is] catchy in a Dir En Grey way,” says Kaoru, the band's guitarist and chief songwriter. “Our music is intense but lyrical, and paints pictures in the minds of listeners.”

He's grossly underselling his craft; calling Dir En Grey 'intense' is like calling Breaking Bad 'alright'. This is cutting edge, genuinely innovative music, taking influence from every pocket of the genre whether it be extreme metal, metalcore or nu metal. When they bring their show to the UK later this month, they'll be taking residence in Islington's O2 Academy for two nights. In their home country of Japan, they've repeatedly sold out the Nippon Budokan – which holds more punters than Wembley Arena – in a matter of minutes.

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