album review – MONSTERS (D’espairsRay)

Great news: Despite the title and the standard set by the preceding singles, D’espairsRay’s latest album is not an atrocity. Far from being one, in fact. MONSTERS is a definite killer. When the band proclaimed that this album is really good, they most certainly were telling the truth.

Kickstarting the album is the lavish Human-clad Monster. Whoever was the sound engineer for this song deserves a pat on the back. Human-clad Monster is one grand production with a lot of elements involved but it was very coherent. I think I can understand now why when asked for one song to represent D’espairsRay, Human-clad Monster was almost unanimously chosen by the members themselves. The track, with its shifting mood and intricacies, seems to chronicle the band’s growth as an artist so far. What’s holding this song back though from becoming truly outstanding is its lackluster chorus. For such a multi-faceted track, the chorus part functions more like a downer rather than as a highlight.

la-la-la love this monster

DEATH POINT follows next and as anyone who had seen the pv would attest, the track is an hyperactive romp crafted in mosh pit heaven. But stripped of the notoriety fostered by its kick-ass pv, DEATH POINT’s beat is a bit repetitive and moves into the chorus too fast. Still, it’s the perfect segue to the epically glorious 13–Thirteen. The song has personality and a ferocious one at that. Apocryphal in attitude and overly mesmerizing, 13-Thirteen- no doubt has to capacity to lure even the most reluctant into D’espairsRay’s “brand new world”.

Now comes LOVE IS DEAD. Love it or hate it, the song clings to you like lint on freshly ironed clothes.  Besides, could anyone actually claim that they can resist singing along to “la-la-la Love is dead”? Anyway, the moment I learned LOVE IS DEAD is included in the album, I wondered its position in the track list. I have hoped against an album full of upbeat songs (or bright songs as the band would call them) so I imagined that the danceable track would be placed at the end.  But no, in its current position (sandwiched between the best songs in the album, in fact), LOVE IS DEAD stands out like the sore thumb it really is. A bold choice indeed but at least it succeeded in highlighting the novelty of the song.

DEVIL’S PARADE rivals 13-Thirteen- in superiority. The track is both playful and menacing at the same time. My only beef against it is that I almost always expect to hear girls chanting “Be obscene, be be obscene. Be obscene, baby”  somewhere along. It could only be just me but DEVIL’S PARADE just reminds me so much of Marilyn Manson’s Mobscene. Then again Marilyn Manson has never released a song as intriguing as dope (superbly titled too!). dope has the seductive vibe going on and it’s regrettable that a pv is not available. HIZUMI’s current style seems to veering towards pimp daddy-ish and dope is right along that alley.

The intro of FALLING, on the other hand, sounds eerily similar to Maximum the Hormone’s Buiiki Kaesu! That aside and with exception of the moderately intense duel between Karyu and TSUKASA from 2:38 to 3:00, there’s really nothing much to say about the track. Same goes for PROGRESS. Maybe I just need to listen to both songs more but currently I’m more likely to skip these two rather than endure them. FINAL CALL follows and up to now I’m still baffled as to why this song was chosen as the single to commemorate D’espairsRay’s 10th anniversary. It’s a few shades away from being as pop-py as HORIZON. Nevertheless, HIZUMI’s pronunciation of the English lyrics is much, much better here than say, the all English DEATH POINT. 

Wrapping everything up is abyss which is interestingly, the only slow song in the album. abyss, in its simplicity, is easy on the ears but not on the heart. abyss hits a bulls-eye for being emotionally cathartic. It starts off on a somber mood then eventually becomes hopeful to finally triumphant. It’s such a beautiful song and I concede than it’s the perfect ending for such a powerful album.

And as for the conclusion of this write-up, there’s really nothing more to say but “well done D’espairsRay!”

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3 thoughts on “album review – MONSTERS (D’espairsRay)”

  1. “The intro of FALLING, on the other hand, sounds eerily similar to Maximum the Hormone’s Buiiki Kaesu! ”

    I’m not okay with that. THe little intro is more like “Wake Up” from Lostprophets, like the music-style of this song.
    FALLING and PROGRESS are two powerful et melodic alternative rock songs like the Lostprophets’ music.

    And FINAL CALL is in the same style.

    ‎13-Thirteen- : This purely military march in the industrial sound. The chain of this track with LOVE IS DEAD is simply very very well found. We could not better introduce LOVE IS DEAD than parts of an industrial march to leave place with the electronics of the song. Very good choice. Like the chain FALLING / PROGRESS / FINAL CALL / abyss which seems to form only a single uniform block. – we fall, we progress in the fall and we send an ultimate call, the final call and we’re in the abyss.

    Some sounds are sounding a little like Korn (Dope) or Marilyn Manson (LOVE IS DEAD, 13-Thirteen) or a mix of two (DEVIL’S PARADE) or Lostprophets (FALLING, PROGRESS), yeah but it’s a part of the D’espairsRay sound since 11 years now.No plagiarism, they are just faithful to themselves.

  2. I think we can cut MONSTERS in two chapters.
    First Chapter : “Dance of the devils” : The Devil Part of the album ; Human-clad Monsters to Dope. It’s like a kind of psychedelic and dark dance with monsters and devils.

    Second Chapter : “The fall of a Human” : The Human Part of the album ; FALLING to abyss. We fall, we progress in the fall, we send an ultimate call and we meet in the depths.

    1. Thank you very much for your comments. They are very much appreciated.

      You have a very profound way of putting it (very impressive) but I’m getting you point.

      Anyway, I played FALLING and Buiiki Kaesu! right after the other many times and I still reached to the same conclusion. The similarity is just limited to the initial guitar rifts. I haven’t heard of Lostprophets but now that you mentioned them I just might give them a listen.

      I have no intention of insinuating that the band plagiarizes. You would do me a huge favor if you would kindly verify if the post gives that impression.

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