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TO UNDERSTAND DEATH BY DYING. ___________________________________ ■ NAME : 課長D。
___________________________________ ■ SEX : ♂
___________________________________ ■ BIRTHDAY : 9月22日
___________________________________ ■ HEIGHT : 188cm
___________________________________ ■ WEIGHT: 155kg
___________________________________ ■ SCENT :【PLATINUM EGOÏSTE】
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_JULIUS
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____________________________________ I like DIR EN GREY,
and I dislike pretty much everything else.

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

LXXXIX


ALBUM REVIEW

Since it's been a while since I was reviewing something I thought this might be a good time to do it again, since this was an album I wasn't actually interested in at all. But when I saw people linking the PV teasers and all the talking about the album I thought "Hey, what the hell" and decided to give it a shot. 

I actually stopped listening to 12012 (Ichi-ni-ZERO-ichi-ni) a couple of years ago (probably just forgot about them since their music got kinda boring) so I decided to get their entire discography three days ago, and I did. So I've spent the last two days preparing fot the new album, I want to give it a fair chance. So I was listening through their entire discography and I realized that the only interesting stuff they've done was pretty early.


After 「(not obtain +1)」in the early 2006 it went downhill, I liked the stuff before though. Both「mar moon」and 「DIAMOND」was awful, really boring and uninspired in my opinion, and then 「SEVEN」came and it had a few decent tracks actually, but just a few. Most of them where pretty bad.



This is how I remember them.

And now to the main point, my review. I'm listening to the album while writing this, and have in mind that I've only listened to the album about six times, so it still needs some time to grow on me. But I'm going to give it a shot anyway. And have in mind that I won't include the bonus songs (which I thought was pretty boring, haha.) I'm planning to go through each track individually and tell you a bit about them and what I think, and I will through in some reference videos here and there as I see fit. And be prepared for a lot of Dir en grey references, since this album is filled with them. Also, you should have in mind that this isn't a professional review, it's just what I think and what comes to mind while I'm listening.

12012

Album:「12012」 Released: 2012.03.14

1. 斑 (MADARA)
2. SUICIDE
3. BAAL-ZEBUL
4. ABUSE
5. 睡蓮 (SUIREN)
6. 蛇舌 (JAZETSU)
7. 艶 (EN)
8. HESITATION
9. FEROCIOUS
10. HIDE & SEEK
11. MADMAN
12. FORTITUDE



I. 斑
The first track is (of course) a intro track, the first thing that hits me right in the face is how similar it is to Dir en grey's "SA BIR" (UROBOROS [Remasted & Expanded], 2012 ) but this feels more like a toned down and more careful SA BIR than the one Dir en grey have. It's very slow and creepy, it feels like the song is "crawling" towards you and put's you in a haunting atmosphere, great opening.

II. SUICIDE 
This song was also the PV teaser, and it hits you right n the fast. It's fast and intense riffs, but yet (again) there's a lot of Dir en grey references. This feels like a mixture of "凱歌、沈黙が眠る頃" (UROBOROS) and "AGITATED SCREAMS OF MAGGOTS" (THE MARROW OF A BONE, 2007) the tempo shifts up and down during the song, fast parts and melodic choruses that breaks into fast segments of intense screaming, the screaming vocals aren't top notch, but this kind of screaming that he's trying to attempt is one of the hardest, that agitated and stabbing kind of vocals that we often hear from Kyo (vocals, Dir en grey). But don't get me wrong, there's a lot of Dir en grey references but this is a good song.



Here's the PV for those who haven't seen it, Wataru looks like Kyo in CLEVER SLEAZOID and the PV has a lot of DIFFERENT SENSE-influences as well. (With nudity and censoring). The PV is in my opinion pretty boring, nothing spectacular but it's worth to check it out once or twice.

III. BAAL-ZEBUL
The first thing that comes to mind is the song title, "BAAL-ZEBUL" is very similar to the Arabic (Ba'al Zebûb) pronunciation of "Beelzebub", and I also believe that "BAAL-ZEBUL" is a Dungeons & Dragon character with a fly head, and Beelzebub also happens to be "The Lord of Flies". So, why do I mention this? Well, it's because of Dir en grey's song "THE BLOSSOMING BEELZEBUB" (DUM SPIRO SPERO, 2011), the intro is very similar and it later goes into some Marilyn Manson-inspired singing and then the song "breaks loose" and it's all low growls and grunting. The song isn't really that good, it's quite boring actually. But it features some double vocal tracks with some "chanting" in the background while Wataru does goes on screaming.

Another thing that I realized with I saw the preview was their new logo, I thought it looked really similar to something I've seen before, and I was right. I love the new 12012-logo, it's a million times better than their old ones (which was just some pre-made typeface). The song titles are also similar to Dir en grey in that sense that they use one word (or few) in upper case. And I also forgot to mention that 12012 is signed to the same label as Dir en grey, Firewall Div. !

And the absolute worst thing about the album is the horrible mixing and mastering, it feels like it's played behind a door, all the sounds feels so low and weak, especially the guitars. The album feels over all terribly flat, I bet this album would get s lot better if they just got somebody who knew how to mix it, since they're doing things like Dir en grey, why not hire Tue Madsen? That guy is a fucking genius.

IV. ABUSE
CHILD PREY-intro coming right at you! This song feels a bit, numb, it doesn't have that impact and power that I want. It feels like it's about to explode at some points, with the drumming, the guitar riffs and then a sudden drop, but no, nope, nothing. Just a rock/pop chours, Wataru is doing a lot of screaming/growling through this album, he's not super good, but it's hard. But it might be something he'll learn to master later on, this song might be fun to hear live. But on the album it's just weak. Sometimes you can mange to hear the guitars, but it can't be any vocals at the same time..!


Wataru (SUICIDE, 2012) | Kyo (CLEVER SLEAZOID, 2005)
I can't be the only one who seems the similarities.

V. 睡蓮
Finally something diffrent, mid-tempo beat and some piano and a slow nice voice. I guess this is what people are most used to hear from Wataru. And then suddenly it sounds exactly like the intro of "BURIAL APPLICANT" (the GazettE, STACKED RUBBISH, 2007) and then it goes away. It feels yet again like the vocals have been toned down, for God know what reason. A mid-tempo ballad. Nice as a change, but not as strong on it's own. It's also the longest track on the album together with the next song, though it's nothing impressive, only 4:36 long.

VI. 蛇舌
The song opens up with a bass solo, mid-tempo song, a bit faster than the previous one, but also this song has a lot of the GazettE-feeling (especially like their older songs with a lot of background vocals) and yet again the guitars and vocals feels toned down. Some churring guitars and grunting, not impressed. Weak vocals or terrible mixing, I can't really tell.

VII. 艶
Interesting and melodic intro, this song is different from the other tracks right away. Also a mid-tempo with more sing-a-longish chorus and some slower parts, this si something that Wataru can manage. This is the first song that really stands out on the album. But the mixing ruins it again, since it feels so flat.

VIII. HESITATION
The first thing that comes in mind is Dir en grey's "DOZING GREEN" (TMOAB, 2007) but that's good, good intro. But I don't think this song is THAT different from the rest of the tracks, the vocals are clean and quite good actually, OK chorus, nothing super catchy but they're good. What makes this song is the guitars, wich, again, are way too low and subtile. But the song was missing a climax, I love songs that has "that", too bad.



If you thought it sounded familiar, listen to this!

IX. FEROCIOUS 
The intro starts out slow, a bit eery with some talking vocals. Very gruesome and scary intro, with shrieking vocals, this song feels really ambient and dark and then it breaks out in some.. I don't know, it just feels like misplaced half-screaming jibberish. I wish the whole song would go on in that eery horrifying mood. The second half just feels a bit misplaced.

X. HIDE & SEEK
Shitty song name, that's the first thing. This song is one of those songs where you're supposed to go crazy, very stabbing grunting and shouting and drums that raises the pulse. But again, this fucking mixing, feels like a shitty demo tape. And then it breaks out in a nice clean chorus and then it goes into talking vocals and pulse heightening guitar riffs, and then it slows down, Wataru screams somthing and bursts into macine gun screaming (That's not a phrase, but I think you know what I mean, haha) and I this feels also very Dir en greyish. The part I'm talking about it the "DIVE LIKE HELL... AND DESTROY"-part from "激しさと、この胸の中で絡み付いた灼熱の闇" (DUM SPIRO SPERO).



vo. Mao (Sadie), vo. Wataru (12012) and vo. Kyo (Dir en grey)
Kyo and Dir en grey are such trendsetters!

XI. MADMAN
This song is what it's called, mostly rapid vocals, rapid drumming and rapid guitars. It's a very fast song, but it's also very plain. It's not like you're listening to some death metal or anything, it just feels very simple and heard-before. Probably a fun song to experience live, but now at home at your stereo. Fast screaming and deep beating grunts.

XII. FORTITUDE
This is the highlight of the album, a great way to end it. The song reminds me of Dir en grey around 2005. (Withering to death.) with the rapping like vocals and strong drums that later on it breaks out into a beautiful chorus.  This isn't a special song in any way, but it has that great Japanese rock guitar riffs and slower softening vocals, there's a sadness in the air. And the song builds up into a great chorus. (I bet this will be a great sing-a-long-song during lives.) A great ending of this album.

______
AFTERMATH
I know realize that this mostly sounds like a rant, haha. But I actually like the album, and I think it's their best album. And I've compared them a lot with Dir en grey, and people will probably complain and say that you need to get inspiration from somewhere, and yes, that's true. But this is almost a ripoff. The reasons I like this album is because it's very similar to Dir en grey, and the reasons I don't like this album is because it's similar to Dir en grey. But the biggest failure is the mixing of this album, it's completely flat and doesn't do them justice at all. If they would get somebody else to do a remastering it might be really good. Maybe a "12012[Remastered & Expanded]" ?

But I believe and hope that this album will be an important stepping stone for 12012, and that it will eventually push the band into the right direction, most songs feels like a poor Dir en grey song but I believe this is a first step to make it "Dir en greyish with their own twist" on it. It's not a bad album, but it's easier to point out the faults than the rights I guess. And I do believe this is worth to listen to, the album get's better after every play through. So it's definitely growing on to me.

TL;DR: It's 12012 best album, very Dir en greyish for better or worse. Check it out!


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