28 November 2008
Dir En Grey/The Human Abstract @ The Marquee 11/28/2008
The Human Abstract were solid. They are nothing overwhelmingly amazing live, but they play their songs, play them well (syncing blazingly fast harmonized leads is no easy task!), and even throw in a little more abstract stuff and embrace their experimental side. In fact, between listening to Midheaven earlier, and seeing them tonight, I am really starting to be more impressed with them than I used to be. In fact, as a side note, all of the hate on Midheaven is totally unjustified in my opinion, it's a good album, live and on record. These guys struggled all night to get the mosh going, but in a crowd of Dir En Grey fans it just wasn't happening. It was sort of hilarious to watch some guys in the crowd trying to mosh and get glared at for it...hilarious because then everyone was moshing to Dir En Grey...a much less moshable band.
Dir En Grey want to be good, I think. The problem is, the band plays one style of music, and the vocalist does whatever he wants...which is only coherent in the context of the music the band is playing possibly 50% of the time. That may be pushing it though. For instance, they'd be playing a dancy tune, and all of a sudden the vocalist switches from cleans to growls to black metal screams and then back to cleans...and you're left wondering what just happened. Then it happens in the next song. Then the next. Soon you realize the band can't seem to put together a coherent song because the vocalist is so self-absorbed. But then, in song 4, they play a really good tune, and the vocalist stops screwing around, so you think "hey, maybe they were just warming up." Of course, this is not true. In the end, only about 1 in 4 songs is cohesive and solid. The rest are disjoint and self indulgent in the bad way. To give an idea of how self absorbed the vocalist is, I would say he thinks he is Mike Patton. About halfway into the set, the band leaves and the vocalist performs a Fantomas-esque vocal only piece with echos and reverb and so forth. Except, it's not really interesting...it almost seems improvisational, but again, not in a good way. Now, this is all not to say the vocalist is not good. He seems pretty outstanding. Decent growls, solid screams, good cleans, and a handful of weird effects to boot. Oh and great projection...several times he had the mic at his hip, and remained completely audible to the audience. The band, likewise, is not bad. The problem is the mesh of the two creative forces...or really the lack of mshing that goes on. When meshing does take place, it turns out quite nicely.