DECAYS is a new project founded in 2015 by DIR EN GREY‘s legendary guitarist Die (on guitar and vocals) and MOON CHILD‘s Kashiyama Kei on drums, joined by talented musicians such as Yusuke Kobayashi (on vocals and guitar) from THE NOVEMBERS and violinist Ayasa. The band’s first album “Red or Maryam” was released on December 16th, 2015 in a unique USB format, coming with the music video of “Secret Mode”, live footage, and a series of photo cards.
“Red or Maryam” takes strong influence from dance and electro music, and explores a wide range of sound effects, instruments and themes to tell different stories. “Secret mode”, the sweet and surreal opening track, impressed me when I first watched its music video, with its addictive guitar riffs and the vocal duo by Die and Yusuke. The next to surprise you in the album is the beautiful vibrato of violin applied in the prelude of “Ai to aware wo nokosazu”, but after this number the sound gets more intense in “Dry” and “Red tide” with eerie and distorted notes. Listeners could expect a touch of pop in the following two songs “NOVA SPIRAL“and “Rana ～from Future Boy～” to get relieved again in their cheerful melodies. Finally, make sure not to miss “beautiful”, where Die shows might on guitar with his incredibly “beautiful” guitar solo.
In this album, the band’s beautiful incorporation of both Japanese and English in all of their songs is a true testament to their storytelling — a sense of deep tradition mixed with modern edge, a sense of Japanese sentiments presented in Western forms. The fact that the lyrics include both languages not only makes DECAYS’ music more accessible to listeners worldwide, but also enables the singing voice, especially the pronunciation, to better match a Western-style electro backing sound.
Having started the new band with a totally new line-up, Die was looking for something completely different. And it now looks like he has found what he really wants. The dreamy and relaxing atmosphere created in “Red or Maryam” is just brilliant, where soft and nonchalant vocals balance out just right the rock&electro instrumental to prevent the songs from being too aggressive. The band express their feelings towards life and love from a surprisingly mature and calm perspective, standing out from generic rock bands in the Visual Kei scene who tend to make ear-splitting sounds all the time. Rather than vent their emotions hysterically, DECAYS opted to convert them into poetic lyrics, mix them into the medium-tempo sound, and let them flow as the melody proceeds, before they finally reach the audience.