In a lot of ways I have DIR EN GREY to either thank or blame for my introduction into the world of Japanese music. I do have to wonder how different things might have been had I not discovered the Japanese Visual Kei/Metal legends when I was but an edgy teenager, more years ago now than I’d care to admit. I have fallen out of touch with the band in recent years but when I saw they had new single “Ningen wo Kaburu” coming out I figured what better time than to catch up. Said song hit me with an instant sense of familiarity, from the crunching guitar riffs to lead vocalist Kyo’s sometimes melodic, often times unhinged vocals. This was still the DIR EN GREY that I grew up listening to…man I was such a weird kid. The same can be said of b-side “Ash” although don’t think I didn’t notice that Math Rock guitar riff they tried to bury under all of the blast beats. The flamenco guitar was also an interesting touch but you should always expect the strange and unexpected from DIR EN GREY. Something that I’m glad to see hasn’t changed even after all of these years.