Tokyo rock quintet Dir En Grey has been through a number of musical incarnations over its decade-long history, but none of them resemble the kind of Japanese music that typically catches on in the States: the power-J-pop of Puffy AmiYumi, the doom-rock of Boris or the experimental noise-rock of the Boredoms.
Instead of going in that direction, Dir En Grey aims for a mix of slick nü-metal, screamo and old-school Maiden-esque prog-metal. It's a style that landed the band an opening spot for the Deftones last year—and one that's draped all over its just-released album, Uroboros. Before that, the group peddled "scary" goth-thrash that sounded (and looked) like a cross between Marilyn Manson and Korn; earlier still, it seemed most interested in creating a sort of funk-metal hybrid in the Faith No More vein. In charismatic and visually interesting (if occasionally rather corny) frontman Kyo, the band has a guy with an impressive enough voice to pull off the bloodcurdling screams and melodic croons necessary for all of those sonic approaches, should Dir En Grey choose to bless us with a schizo, career-spanning set.