DIR EN GREY is a metal band formed in 1997 and currently signed to Firewall Div., a sub-division of Free-Will. As of 2011, they have recorded eight full-length records with a lineup consistent since its inception. Numerous stylistic changes have made the genre of their music difficult to determine, though it is generally considered to be a form of metal. Originally a visual kei band, the band has opted for less dramatic attire in recent years.
Originally a visual kei band, the band has dropped that style since around 2005 when they released their fifth full-length album, Withering to death.. Their musical style is difficult to determine; throughout their releases, they have played styles ranging from pop to death metal. Today, their style can be considered generally a version of metal or more specifically, progressive metal/alternative metal.
DIR EN GREY in its earliest form, began as the band of vocalist Kyo and drummer Shinya - 廃人黒薔薇族 (Haijin Kuro Bara Zoku, “Invalid Black Rose Family”). Members and associates of this band formed La:Sadie’s, which eventually included four of the band’s five current members; Kyo (京) on vocals, Kaoru (薫) and Die on guitar, and Shinya on drums. La:Sadie’s disbanded in 1996. All but the bassist, Kisaki, and former lead guitarist, Shio (replaced by Kaoru), came back together to form DIR EN GREY while in Osaka, Japan in 1997 and released their first EP, Missa.
They first attracted mainstream attention in 1998 by entering the top ten on the Oricon music charts with the still independently produced songs Jealous and -I'll-. Five subsequent singles, arranged and produced by X Japan co-founder Yoshiki Hayashi, were published during the first half of 1999 where the band's first full-length record Gauze, followed. One of the shows in support for the album (filmed at the Osaka-jo Hall) would later become the first of several live concerts to be released on VHS and DVD.
In 2000 vocalist Kyo was hospitalized with hearing trouble and several dates of the tour in support of DIR EN GREY's then upcoming album Macabre, had to be postponed. Tour 00 >> 01 Macabre eventually took off later the same year and was concluded at Nippon Budokan, shortly after the release of the single Ain't Afraid to Die in April 2001.
In the following year, along with the release of a third full-length album Kisou (鬼葬), DIR EN GREY gave their first performances abroad touring China, Taiwan, and South Korea. Back in Japan, the last dates of the lengthy Rettou Gekishin Angya tour were already in support for the band's second EP Six Ugly. In summer 2003, DIR EN GREY performed at Akasaka Blitz for five evenings in a single week, with each show (except the first) themed after a certain album, the last featuring songs from the then yet to be released Vulgar. A DVD set, titled Blitz 5 Days, was later released exclusively for members of the band's official fan club, titled A Knot. Vulgar was released in September 2003, and tours in support for the record would last well into 2004.
Their fifth full-length album, Withering to death., was the band’s first to see distribution outside of Japan. It was released in Europe by GAN-SHIN and the United States by Warcon Enterprises. The band has been signed to FIREWALL DIV., a subdivision of Free-Will under Sony Music, for its entire career so far. They’re currently signed to Okami Records for European distribution and The End for United States distribution.
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