Uroboros (album)

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Dir en grey - Uroboros.png
Studio album by
ReleasedNovember 11, 2008
StudioStudio Innig
Sony Music Studios
Sound Crew Studio
Studio Fine
Studio Sunshine
Prime Sound Studio Form
Wang GuangRecLabs
Studio Somewhere
Studio Kolkhoz
LanguageJapanese, English[3]
LabelFirewall Div./SMEJ, The End, Gan-Shin
ProducerDir En Grey
Dir En Grey chronology
The Marrow of a Bone
Dum Spiro Spero
Singles from Uroboros
  1. "Dozing Green"
    Released: October 24, 2007
  2. "Glass Skin"
    Released: September 10, 2008

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, on November 12, 2008, in Japan through Firewall[4] and European releases by Gan-Shin.[5][6] A remastered and expanded edition was released in 2012, featuring new and reworked tracks. The album was remastered by Tue Madsen who also produced their following album Dum Spiro Spero.

The album is named after the Ouroboros symbol, which is a dragon or snake figure depicted in a full circle consuming itself. The symbol represents continuity and the cycle of power, emphasizing the theme of reincarnation, an idea propagated heavily by the band during promotion.[7]

The album art, designed by the band's long-time artist Koji Yoda, was conceived with inspiration from King Crimson's 1970 album Lizard.[8]

Background and production[edit]

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.[9] The original announcement of recording was slated for the beginning of 2008,[10] while it was later announced that the album began pre-production in March 2008.[11] The members regrouped after two months of solitary work 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.[9] 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,[12] congas, electric sitar,[8] and biwa to create a unique sound,[7] and vocalist Kyo sets emphasis on "non-screaming vocals,"[7] 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.[13]


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.[11] 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."[7] 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[9]

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".[14]

Together with the band's label, a California-based radio station, Indie 103.1, premiered music from Uroboros on October 19, 26 and November 2. 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.[15] 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" (Russian: вина), can be translated as "guilt".[8]


A first time for the band, the album debuted in the United States, being released in four editions.[14] 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 only the main album,[16] 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.[17][18]

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 were commercially available.[18]

The European release, handled by Gan-Shin, began in France on November 12, simultaneously with the Japanese release.[6] 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.

A remastered and expanded edition was released in 2012, featuring new and reworked tracks. The album was remastered by Tue Madsen who also produced their following album Dum Spiro Spero. This featured an extended version of "Sa Bir", a special version of "Bugaboo" that was previously releases only on the vinyl version that came with the [2CD + 1DVD + 2LP] limited edition of Uroboros, and Japanese versions of "Dozing Green" and "Glass Skin". In addition, "Hydra -666-" is also included, previously only available as a B-side to the "Dozing Green" single.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Kerrang!(KKK) 2008[19]
Metal Hammer[20]
NEO Magazine #53[21]
Revolver 2008[23]
Rock Sound[24]

Uroboros quickly received positive reviews, being acknowledged as an experimental album for the band,[2] 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;[1] Another oft-mentioned aspect is the continued use of Japanese lyrics by Kyo;[25] 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 said the use of Japanese is something that could preclude the band having mainstream popularity, but some approve of the band's consistency with their native language. A negative that some reviewers identified is repetitiveness in the album's style, though this was interpreted as a strong point by JD Considine of Revolver.[23]

[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 marked Dir En Grey's first time ranking on the United States' central music chart.[26] 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).[27]

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics are written by Kyo; all music is composed by Dir En Grey.

1."Sa Bir (Interlude)"2:00
3."Red Soil"3:24
4."Dōkoku to Sarinu" (慟哭と去りぬ; "It Ends in Lamentation")3:48
5."Toguro" (蜷局; "Whorl")3:57
6."Glass Skin"4:27
7."Stuck Man"3:34
8."Reiketsu Nariseba" (冷血なりせば; "If I Were Cold-Blooded")3:33
9."Ware, Yami Tote…" (我、闇とて・・・; "For I Am Darkness…")7:01
11."Gaika, Chinmoku ga Nemuru Koro" (凱歌、沈黙が眠る頃; "Paean, the Time When Silence Sleeps")4:22
12."Dozing Green"4:05
13."Inconvenient Ideal"4:23
Total length:58:54

Bonus tracks[edit]

Japanese vinyl edition
11."Bugaboo Respira" (Unlisted, placed after Bugaboo)2:13
American versions
14."Glass Skin" (Japanese lyrics version) (Limited edition only)4:28
15."Dozing Green" (Japanese lyrics version)4:08
Total length:08:36
American vinyl edition
14."Dozing Green" (Japanese version)4:08
15."Undecided" (B-side from "Glass Skin" single)4:58
Total length:09:06
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
Total length:11:44

Bonus Discs[edit]

Japanese limited and deluxe edition
1."Ware, Yami Tote…" (我、闇とて・・・; "For I Am Darkness…", unplugged)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 (Japanese Lyrics Re-mastering)" (Deluxe edition only)4:08
6."Glass Skin (Japanese Lyrics Re-mastering)" (Deluxe edition only)4:29
Total length:27:38
Japanese Deluxe Edition DVD
1."Recording and Interviews" 
2."Toguro" (蜷局; "Whorl", Shot In One Take) 
3."Dozing Green" (Shot In One Take) 
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[edit]

All lyrics are written by Kyo; all music is composed by Dir En Grey.

1."Sa Bir (Extended Version)"3:52
3."Red Soil"3:24
4."Dōkoku to Sarinu" (慟哭と去りぬ; "It Ends in Lamentation")3:48
5."Toguro" (蜷局; "Whorl")3:58
6."Glass Skin"4:28
7."Stuck Man"3:35
8."Reiketsu Nariseba" (冷血なりせば; "If I Were Cold-Blooded")3:33
9."Ware, Yami Tote…" (我、闇とて・・・; "For I Am Darkness…")7:03
10."Hydra -666-"3:40
11."Bugaboo Respira"2:09
13."Gaika, Chinmoku ga Nemuru Koro" (凱歌、沈黙が眠る頃; "Paean, the Time When Silence Sleeps")4:22
14."Dozing Green"4:06
15."Inconvenient Ideal"4:22
Total length:63:53


Release history[edit]

Region Date Label Format Catalog
United States November 11, 2008 The End Records Digipak CD and DVD (Limited) TE123-1
Digital download N/A
Compact disc TE123-2
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 SFCD-0065
Europe[6] Gan-Shin Compact disc FWEAL00-04
Compact disc (Limited) FWEAL00-05


Country Provider(s) Peak
Japan Weekly Albums[27] Oricon 4 43,316
(as of December 1, 2008)
Billboard Japan Top Albums[28] Billboard Japan 4
United States Billboard 200[29] Billboard 114 6,054
United States Top Heatseekers[30] 1
United States Top Independent[31] 9
United States Top Internet Albums[32] 8
United States Top Hard Rock[33] 17
United States Top Comprehensive[34] 135


  1. ^ a b c Jurek, Thom (2008-11-11). "Uroboros > Overview" (Review). allmusic.com. Macrovision Corporation. p. 1. Retrieved 2008-11-17.
  2. ^ a b c Bowar, Chad (2008-11-11). "Review of Uroboros by Dir En Grey" (Review). heavymetal.about.com. New York City, NY, USA: About.com. p. 1. Retrieved 2008-11-17.
  3. ^ "Dir En Grey Official Site". Archived from the original on 2013-08-07. Retrieved 2013-07-06.
  4. ^ "Dir En Grey Uroboros announcement". direngrey.co.jp (in English and Japanese). Sun Krad Co. Ltd. p. 1. Archived from the original (Database) on 2008-08-22. Retrieved 2008-07-31.
  5. ^ Dan (2008-08-04). "Dir En Grey new album exclusive!". kerrang.com. Bauer Performance. p. 1. Archived from the original (News update) on 2008-08-08. Retrieved 2008-08-05. Uroboros will be the band's first album to receive a simultaneous worldwide release.
  6. ^ a b c Finja (2008-08-06). "European Release of Dir En Grey's UROBOROS" (News archive). jame-world.com. Asian Music Entertainment. p. 1. Retrieved 2008-08-06. Gan-Shin will release Dir En Grey's new album, UROBOROS, in Europe. Starting with France and several countries on the same day as the Japanese version, the release will hit shelves in other countries shortly after.
  7. ^ a b c d "Dir En Grey - Uroboros CDJapan Articles Archive" (Article). cdjapan.co.jp. Neowing. 2008-08-08. p. 1. Retrieved 2008-08-08.
  8. ^ a b c Frénot, Mandah (2008-10-28). "Dir En Grey (28/10/2008)" (Interview). verdammnis.com (in French). France: VerdamMnis. p. 1. Retrieved 2008-11-10.
  9. ^ a b c "Gansonaki Kaoru-ya". Haiiro No Ginka. 39. 2008.
  10. ^ Hemy, Dominic (2007-11-02). "Planet Loud interviews Dir En Grey". planet-loud.com. Planet-Loud.Com. p. 1. Archived from the original (Interview) on 2008-08-28. Retrieved 2008-07-05.
  11. ^ a b "DIR EN GREY Begins Work On New Album". roadrunnerrecords.com. 2008-05-07. p. 1. Archived from the original (News archive) on 2008-05-12. Retrieved 2008-07-05.
  12. ^ "Gansonaki Kaoru-ya". Haiiro No Ginka. 39: 16–19. 2008.
  13. ^ Dir En Grey and staff (2008-11-12). Uroboros: Recording and Interviews (DVD-documentary). Tokyo, Japan: Firewall Div.
  14. ^ a b "Exclusive - Interview with Dir En Grey About New Record, Uroboros, New Record Deal with The End" (E-mail interview). headbangersblog.mtv.com. MTV. 2008-09-15. Retrieved 2008-09-15.
  15. ^ "Dir En Grey on Indie 103.1". fullmetaljackieradio.com. Archived from the original on 2011-07-11. Retrieved 2008-10-23.
  16. ^ "Dir En Grey / Uroboros [Limited Edition, 2CD + 1DVD + 2LP (subject to change)]" (Catalogue). cdjapan.co.jp. Neowing. 2008-08-01. p. 1. Retrieved 2008-08-01.
  17. ^ "Uroboros (Jacket A) (Album+DVD+LP) (First Press Limited Edition) (Japan Version)" (Catalogue). yesasia.com. YESASIA.COM LTD. 2008-08-01. p. 1. Retrieved 2008-08-01.
  18. ^ a b "Regarding the Gazette and Dir En Grey" (Corporate blog). cdjapan.co.jp. Neowing. 2008-08-08. p. 1. Retrieved 2008-08-08.
  19. ^ Slessor, Dan (2008-11-09). "Kerrang!" (1235 ed.). United Kingdom: Bauer: 48. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  20. ^ -Issue 187-
  21. ^ Smith, Tom (January 2009). "NEO Magazine" (53 ed.). United Kingdom: Uncooked Media: 82. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  22. ^ McKnight, Denyss (2008-11-21). "Review :: Dir En Grey - Uroboros". ReGen. Archived from the original on 2009-03-09. Retrieved 2011-12-16.
  23. ^ a b "DIR EN GREY's Uroboros Debuts at #1 on Billboard's Top Heatseekers Chart!". theendrecords.com. United States: THE END RECORDS. p. 1. Archived from the original (News Release) on 2009-01-08. Retrieved 2008-11-27.
  24. ^ Moorhouse, Giles (2011-11-12). "Dir En Grey - Uroboros". Rock Sound. Retrieved 2011-12-16.
  25. ^ Parmenter, Ian (2008-11-11). "Dir En Grey - Uroboros Review" (Review). 411mania.com. 411mania.com. p. 1. Retrieved 2008-11-17.
  26. ^ Neilstein, Vince (2008-11-19). "Big Sales Week for The Faceless, Dir En Grey, Behemoth". MetalSucks. Retrieved 2011-12-16.
  27. ^ a b 2008年11月第4週の邦楽アルバムランキング情報 (Chart). oricon.co.jp (in Japanese). Japan: Oricon Inc. p. 1. Retrieved 2008-11-20.
  28. ^ "Billboard Japan Top Albums". Billboard Japan. Retrieved 4 May 2015.
  29. ^ "The Billboard 200 - Uroboros". billboard.com. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. p. 1. Archived from the original on June 30, 2013. Retrieved 2008-11-20.
  30. ^ "Top Heatseekers - Uroboros". billboard.com. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. p. 1. Archived from the original on June 6, 2013. Retrieved 2008-11-20.
  31. ^ "Top Independent - Uroboros". billboard.com. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. p. 1. Archived from the original on April 14, 2013. Retrieved 2008-11-20.
  32. ^ "Top Internet Albums - Uroboros". billboard.com. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. p. 1. Retrieved 2008-11-20.[dead link]
  33. ^ "Top Hard Rock - Uroboros". billboard.com. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. p. 1. Retrieved 2008-11-20.[dead link]
  34. ^ "Top Comprehensive - Uroboros". billboard.com. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. p. 1. Retrieved 2008-11-20.[dead link]

External links[edit]