In a world of digital and streaming music, Japan remains one of the only countries that heavily relies on CD sales. That’s why we were a little surprised when DECAYS—the solo unit of Die (DIR EN GREY) and Kei Kashiyama (MOON CHILD)—announced the release of “Red or Maryam” not on a CD, but on a USB stick.
The 7-track release starts off with a previous release, “Secret mode.” It quickly becomes clear that DECAYS has much more to offer than just 80’s pop-inspired dance tunes with the second track, 「愛と哀を遺さず…」 (Ai to Aware wo Nokosazu…). Ayasa (violin)’s quick notes and vibrato offer both contrast and harmony with Yusuke Kobayashi (THE NOVEMBERS) and Die’s twin vocals. It also pairs surprisingly smoothly with Die’s guitar melodies, composed and strummed with the sort of skill that helped to boost DIR EN GREY’s claim to international fame.
“Dry” presents fans with the more melancholic and dramatic side of the unit. Drummer Kei Kobayashi’s crashing cymbals puncture the smooth vocals and melodic background guitar. “Red tide” has a distinctly dark, rock sound that sounds more typical of DIR EN GREY’s guitarist. The mini-album closes out with the waltz-like ballad “beautiful,” soothing and dreamy.
The range of mood and musical colorful included on “Red or Maryam” both reflects the veteran skills of its members while leaving its listeners in anticipation for the band’s next move.