REVIEW: the GazettE - NIL (Reissue)

So far, 2015 has been a banner year for visual kei supergroup the GazettE. After a several year chain of well-selling-but-moderately-received albums, the band came back hard with their most successful album to-date: DOGMA (a personal favorite), which is the first movement of a five-part series called PROJECT:DARK AGE. In addition to all of this work, they have also reissued European editions of some of their other best-selling and most popular albums. I was fortunate enough to be able to receive a copy of their hit 2006 album NIL.

1. The End
2. Nausea & Shudder
3. Bath Room
4. Maggots
5. Namaatatakai Ame to Zuratsuita Jounetsu
6. D.L.N
8. Baretta
9. Cassis
10. Silly God Disco
11. Discharge
12. Taion
What is primarily different about the reissue of the album is the insert included in the jewel case featuring romanized lyrics and English translations for foreign audiences. Being that this is pretty much the only difference from the original edition, it isn't much to write home about. The insert provided is helpful due to the original print of the booklet remaining untouched, so the lyrics are still in Japanese kanji and not everyone can read that. What could have possibly been more helpful is putting the romanized lyrics in the book itself with a translated insert. This way, the reader wouldn't be forced to flip back and forth between the booklet and the insert due to the fact that previously written English lyrics was not printed on the insert. Other than this slight inconvenience, the album still holds up as one of the GazettE's best albums even 9 years later.

"The End" is still a great mood setter for the album even if it doesn't necessarily blend well into track two, but the undistinguishable chanting makes for a great visual rock bop. While "Nausea & Shudder" is a bit long for what it is, it's still melodic in all the right ways and heavy when it needs to be shaken up. The third track, "Bath Room" continues to be one of my favorite tracks on the album as it's one of the closer songs to a power ballad in their early discography. The heavy guitars blend extremely well with Ruki's deep and melodic voice to create a dark, but beautiful atmosphere.

After a few more epic-lengthed songs, they trim the fat a little bit for the super-short "Maggots" which is certainly a great live song with the energy it provides, but can be hard to listen to without the context of being performed live as it's just a bit too much to handle in terms of harsh vocals and total lack of melody in any form. Now, if you're a fan of jazz-inspired visual rock, "Namaatatakai Ame to Zuratsuita Jounetsu" is for you. The translators of this edition have been kind enough to point out that this means "Lukewarm Rain and Rough Passion" in English, but doesn't exactly set that sort of atmosphere. Soon after, we're back to the epic length songs again with "D.L.N", which would probably be short for "Dark Long Night" as they are the last three words of the hook. These are definitely along the same lines of "Bath Room" in terms of atmosphere, but is even slower and uses considerably more acoustic guitar and less synth.

Kicking the energy back up with "SHADOW VI II I" was probably a good idea. It's bass heavy and beat driven with some interesting melody choices and can almost be considered a continuation of their last jazz-inspired song as it definitely has jazz elements, but also some key features of hard rock. It's a crossover jam for certain. Following that with "Baretto" was once again a good idea. Yet another epic-length power ballad from the boys of the GazettE, this time with more obvious drumming and use of bass. It has considerably more energy than previous power ballads, but doesn't lose the strong melody in all of the guitar riffs and bass lines. Then there's the longest and slowest song on the album, "Cassis", which uses a lot of acoustic guitar as well as acoustic piano right along with minority featured electric guitar. This continues to be one of their greatest and most emotionally impactful songs to date, even after almost a decade has past.

The final three songs are some of the most intriguing songs on the album and are definitely worth noting. "Silly God Disco" is an instance of jazz in the visual rock scene done well. It holds attention and is innovative for the genre without being pandering or annoying. "Discharge" is the heaviest song on the album and apparently the lyrics just straight up don't matter as they were scribbled out in the original booklet and continue to be scribbled out and not released in any official capacity. In any case, the song has a great live energy that actually translates well to the recorded version. The album closer, "Taion" is also of a considerable length, but also provides some real entertainment. The intro gives a creepy, almost nightmarish vibe and doesn't lose that level of creepiness throughout all six-and-a-half minutes.

Factoring in historical context and taking a look at where the GazettE is in their career now, you can't deny that NIL is one of their most important and influential albums. It was, at one point, the standard to live up to in the scene and now a decade later they have created another masterpiece album that other bands should aspire to.

Please, support the band by purchasing the reissue of NIL here and purchasing Dogma by clicking here
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