|Studio album by Dir En Grey|
|Released||November 11, 2008|
Sony Music Studios
Sound Crew Studio
Prime Sound Studio Form
|Genre||Experimental metal, progressive metal, metalcore, death metal alternative metal|
|Label||Firewall Div./SMEJ, The End, Gan-Shin|
|Producer||Dir En Grey|
|Dir En Grey chronology|
|Singles from Uroboros|
Uroboros (stylized UROBOROS) is the seventh studio album by Japanese metal band Dir En Grey. It was released on November 11, 2008 in the United States by The End Records and, due to the time difference, November 12, 2008 in Japan through Firewall and European releases by Gan-Shin. The album is named after the Ouroboros symbol, which is a dragon or snake figure depicted in full circle consuming itself. This represents continuity and the cycle of power, emphasizing the theme of reincarnation, an idea propagated heavily by the band during promotion.
Background and production
Following the finale of their 2007 touring, much of the song writing was completed on an individual basis in January and February 2008, without the members meeting to collaborate. The original announcement of recording was slated for the beginning of 2008, while it was later announced that the album began pre-production in March 2008. The members regrouped after two months of solitary working and shared their independently developed tracks, with guitarist Kaoru saying the intent was to show "I'm making this song right now," with the intent of producing a larger variety of songs. Recording of the first tracks then began in the spring in the Sony Building in Tokyo. Dir En Grey later returned to the pre-production phase for the remaining tracks of the album.
The band recorded with many new instruments, including mandolin, congas, electric sitar, and biwa to create a unique sound, and vocalist Kyo sets emphasis on "non-screaming vocals," accentuating softer composition, while still blending in his unique screams, screeches, and polished death metal growls. For the album, Kaoru and Die utilized several guitar models and techniques; an unconventional method, some of the guitars were recorded directly from amps.
Uroboros is "stuffed with themes of 'guilt and reincarnation' as well as 'the past, present and future of Dir En Grey,'" as guitarist Kaoru stated in a press release. This was later echoed in CDJapan's album overview, calling the album "a sort of return for the band, revisiting the pre-Withering to Death. era." Kaoru also included that the album would again be a progression into "heavier and darker" sounds than prior albums, as well as an "oriental and religious mood."
In an interview in the band's regular fan-club magazine, Haiiro no Ginka, interviewer You Masuda described the style in comparison with the band's preceding album, The Marrow of a Bone:
|“||I'm actually starting to feel troubled. I don't know how I could describe your music in words. For example, Marrow of a Bone is a work that has elements of metal, but the songs I just heard now are difficult to describe. If I were to express these songs, it would be something close to being acoustic. If you put it in a strange way, it's close to something like, 'What happens if Thom Yorke does metal?'||”|
— Yuichi "You" Masuda, Haiiro no Ginka
With the announcement of an American release date, guitarist Kaoru expressed further opinion on the album's style, saying the album would experiment with oriental sounds, and the "hard and heavy" atmosphere found on The Marrow of a Bone would be absent, instead favoring more elegant instrumentation and "something that lets you visualize several scenes".
Together with the band's label, a California-based radio station, Indie 103.1 premiered music from Uroboros on 19 October and 26 October, and will premier again on 2 November. The tracks "Red Soil" and "Dozing Green" were played on the first night, with "Glass Skin" chosen on the second, available both as a radio broadcast and internet radio show. On the 2 November broadcast, the band debuted "Gaika, Chinmoku ga Nemuru Koro".
During promotion, the track "Stuck Man" was referred to as "Third Time Does the Trick", however the title was changed before the final track listing was revealed.
In harmony with the Asian themes in the album, the first two tracks titles, "Sa Bir" and "Vinushka" are derived from the Tibetan language and Russian language respectively. The former referring to the movement of the Earth, while the latter is a "word from Russian origin" used "to talk about elements that are linked to sins," according to VerdamMnis Magazine's interview Kaoru did with French journalist Mandah Frénot. "Vinushka", which is a form of the word "vina", can be translated as "guilt".
A first time for the band, the album debuted in the United States, being released in four editions. The album is available via digital download, a standard CD, a deluxe limited edition release packaged in a cardboard sleeve and slipcase with both a CD and DVD, and finally in a twelve-inch LP with a card to download the digital release. The CD and DVD edition come with a series of live videos on the DVD, rather than making-of footage from the Japanese release. The live footage includes "Repetition of Hatred", "Agitated Screams of Maggots", and "Hydra -666-" from the band's Zepp Tokyo concert from 22 December 2007, "Dead Tree" from Wacken Open Air 2007, and "Dozing Green" from a show on Tour 07 The Marrow of a Bone; tracks one through four were all previously included on In Weal or Woe.
The album was released in three editions in Japan; a standard edition, a limited edition and a deluxe edition. The standard edition includes no more than the main album, while the limited edition includes a bonus disc with unplugged tracks and internationally exclusive tracks. The deluxe edition contains both discs packaged with the limited edition, as well as a bonus DVD containing a documentary of the album's conception, and two LPs.
The original intent of the band's record label was to press an approximate amount of deluxe editions, however, due to extremely rapid sales and high demand, the edition was opened to a pre-order limit of August 16, after which no more copies were pressed and only leftover pressings are commercially available.
The European release, handled by Gan-Shin, began in France on November 12, simultaneously with the Japanese release. The album is available throughout Europe in two editions; the regular that includes only the album's feature tracks, while the limited edition includes three bonus tracks.
Uroboros quickly received positive reviews, being acknowledged as an experimental album for the band, and a defined shift back to the band's roots, while retaining the metal elements of the recent works. Allmusic chose Uroboros as an "AMG Album Pick", praising the release for its variety and willingness to escape the band's stereotypes; Another oft mentioned aspect is the continued use of Japanese lyrics by Kyo, however, the album was also advertised with specific attention to the English revisions of "Dozing Green" and "Glass Skin", while other tracks also had heavy use of English. Several professional reviews have placed use of Japanese as something that will withhold the band from mainstream popularity, but some approve of the bands consistency with their native language. Negatives that reviewers have identified are repetition in the album's style, though this has also been interpreted as a strong point by JD Considine of Revolver.
|“||[Uroboros features] muscular funk licks, soaring power-ballad melodies, and creepy atmospherics; moments that have the slow intensity of a dirge, and others that rush with the hell-bent-for-leather abandon of classic metal. Most amazing of all, [Dir En Grey] manages to do all this while maintaining such a strong sense of structure that the album almost feels like one continuous song.||”|
—JD Considine, Revolver
In its debut release week, the album sold 6,054 copies and reached number 114 on the Billboard 200 albums chart. This marks Dir En Grey's first time ranking on the United States' central music chart. In the band's native country, the album was met with high sales, exceeding thirty-seven thousand, which brought the album to a number four spot on the Oricon chart. This was Dir En Grey's best performance since Kisou (2002).
All lyrics written by Kyo, all music composed by Dir En Grey.
|3.||"Red Soil" (Die)||3:24|
|4.||"Doukoku to Sarinu" (慟哭と去りぬ; "Lament and leave")||3:48|
|5.||"Toguro" (蜷局; "Coil")||3:57|
|8.||"Reiketsu Nariseba" (冷血なりせば; "Cold-blooded Silhouette")||3:33|
|9.||"Ware, Yami Tote..." (我、闇とて･･･; "I, am Darkness...")||7:01|
|11.||"Gaika, Chinmoku ga Nemuru Koro" (凱歌、沈黙が眠る頃; "Victory, the place where silence sleeps")||4:22|
|Japanese vinyl edition|
|11.||"Bugaboo (A Capella)" (Placed between tracks 10 and 11 as per CD release)||2:13|
|14.||"Glass Skin" (Japanese lyrics version) (Limited edition only)||4:28|
|15.||"Dozing Green" (Japanese lyrics version)||4:08|
|American vinyl edition|
|14.||"Dozing Green" (Japanese version)||4:08|
|15.||"Undecided" (b-side from "Glass Skin" single)||4:58|
|European limited edition|
|14.||"Glass Skin" (Japanese version)||4:28|
|15.||"Dozing Green" (Japanese version)||4:08|
|16.||"Agitated Screams of Maggots (Unplugged)" (b-side from "Glass Skin" single)||3:08|
|Japanese limited and deluxe edition|
|1.||"Ware, Yami Tote... (Unplugged)" (我、闇とて･･･; "My darkness...")||6:39|
|2.||"Inconvenient Ideal (Unplugged)"||4:23|
|3.||"Red Soil (Unplugged)"||3:25|
|4.||"Dozing Green (Before Construction Version)" (Deluxe edition only)||4:19|
|5.||"Dozing Green" (Remastered Japanese version) (Deluxe edition only)||4:08|
|6.||"Glass Skin" (Remastered Japanese version) (Deluxe edition only)||4:29|
|Japanese Deluxe Edition DVD|
|1.||"Recording and Interviews"|
|2.||"Toguro (Studio Live)" (蜷局; "Coil")|
|3.||"Dozing Green (Studio Live)"|
|American Limited Edition DVD|
|1.||"Repetition of Hatred" (Live Take at Zepp Tokyo, 22 December 2007)|
|2.||"Agitated Screams of Maggots" (Live Take at Zepp Tokyo, 22 December 2007)|
|3.||"Hydra -666-" (Live Take at Zepp Tokyo, 22 December 2007)|
|4.||"Dead Tree" (Live Take at Wacken Open Air, 4 August 2007)|
|5.||"Dozing Green" (Live Take on Tour07 The Marrow of a Bone, 2007 (studio audio))|
Remastered & Expanded
All lyrics written by Kyo, all music composed by Dir En Grey.
|4.||"Dōkoku to Sarinu" (慟哭と去りぬ; "Lament and leave")||3:48|
|5.||"Toguro" (蜷局; "Coil")||3:58|
|8.||"Reiketsu Nariseba" (冷血なりせば; "Cold-blooded Silhouette")||3:33|
|9.||"Ware, Yami Tote..." (我、闇とて･･･; "I, am Darkness...")||7:03|
|13.||"Gaika, Chinmoku ga Nemuru Koro" (凱歌、沈黙が眠る頃; "Victory, the place where silence sleeps")||4:22|
|United States||November 11, 2008||The End Records||Digipak CD and DVD (Limited)||TE123-1|
|12" LP album||TE124-2|
|Japan||November 12, 2008||Firewall, Sony Music Entertainment Japan||2-CD album with bonus DVD, 2-LP box set
|2-CD album (Limited)||SFCD-0063-64|
|Compact disc (Limited)||FWEAL00-05|
|Japan Weekly Albums||Oricon||4||43,316
(as of December 1, 2008)
|United States Billboard 200||Billboard||114||6,054|
|United States Top Heatseekers||1|
|United States Top Independent||9|
|United States Top Internet Albums||8|
|United States Top Hard Rock||17|
|United States Top Comprehensive||135|
- "Dir En Grey Official Site". Retrieved 2013-07-06.
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- Dan (2008-08-04). "Dir En Grey new album exclusive!" (News update). kerrang.com. Bauer Performance. p. 1. Retrieved 2008-08-05. "Uroboros will be the band's first album to receive a simultaneous worldwide release."
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- -Issue 187-
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