the GazettE - DIVISION
Aptly titled DIVISION, the sixth studio album from visual kei luminaries the GazettE has been met with split opinions since its domestic release at the end of August. Spun out within a year it has hotly followed 2011’s TOXIC, as an eager RUKI hopes to further explore similar themes and dabble in imbuing its twelve tracks with a mixture of dark electronica and dub-step, alongside the heavy metal core.
DIVISION certainly has some lofty ideas; in Japan a 2-disc special edition was released to make more sense of what the band was trying to accomplish, the name pertaining to two distinct flavours - rock and digital. English and Japanese lyrics were divided accordingly, as were the heavier tracks and balladry stuff. For its European release, however, JPU Records has simply released the regular edition, which allows the more experimental numbers to caress a hearty centre, with tracks such as ‘Yoin’ - a thoughtful lament on last year’s earthquake tragedy - and ‘Kago no Sanagi’ providing some of the more poignant moments of the ‘rock’ side.
Whilst the more classic, ballad style of the GazettE should be enough to please most, the ‘digital’ additions are often sheer lunacy, inserting more by way of Ruki’s fierce growls and overproducing everything to the point of tedium. Tracks such as ‘GABRIEL ON THE GALLOWS’, ‘DRIPPING INSANITY’ and ‘REQUIRED MALFUNCTION’ (I'm assuming the capitalisation is REALLY IMPORTANT, Kev - Ed.) teem with various effects through their heavy dub-step accompaniments and, although strangely provocative at times and fairly true to formula, there’s little to separate and make any particular one stand out.
Overall, then, DIVISION is an ambitious, if unremarkable listen. the GazettE continue in unison and can certainly be patted on the back for trying something a little more unusual in celebration of their ten years together. But then the GazettE has always played around with various genres at one time or another and perhaps that’s the secret to their longevity. Time will tell if DIVISION signals a major shift for the band but whatever the case I’m sure they’ll keep on dominating the charts for many more years to come.