D’espairs Ray is a Japanese Goth rock band that has been gaining in popularity in the US over the past three years. The band was formed back in 1999 and has had the same members through the whole history of the group. The look of the band is of sexy dark personas that fit well with their music. Their group started out as part of the visual Kei movement (which consisted of flamboyant styles of dress and performance) in Japan but has transitioned into a style that could be just considered rock.
I recently got to see them live at the Taste of Chaos tour which was one of the places where you could pick up their DVD. D’espairs Ray is known for putting on good shows and if you can’t see them live this DVD is the next best thing. At the tour there were so many groups going through the stage that they couldn’t adjust the mikes for everyone and it was hard to hear them over their instruments, but with the DVD the sound is perfect. The only distraction is the audience getting loud every now and then. The disk even comes with special features like you being able to put subtitles on the songs and these can either be in Japanese (good for singing along) or in English (so you can know what the songs are really about.
The songs that they performed were some of their latest ones that it is harder for fans to find here in the US. Mirror (the title song from their last album) is presented in a swirl of cool colors that draws viewers in as Karyu opens with guitar riffs that he is known for. In Desert Hizumi’s voice is so clear that this recording could be better then the one that made it onto the album. Even though most of there lyrics are in Japanese, like many other groups there is still the random English mixed in. It is easy to find English translations of their songs online. Most of D’espairs Ray’s music deals with classic rock themes such as life, death, rebirth, and love. A personal favorite of mine on this DVD is Born which includes all four of those aspects.
It was disappointing that they didn’t have at least a few of their classic songs on it that were responsible for letting them become popular. There were also a few times that the crowd got so loud that you couldn’t hear the group at all, but this just shows that the people were having a great time at the show and is understandable of any live recording. Over all this DVD showed the groups newer stuff off wonderfully and will be a great introduction to the band for Americans that haven’t even heard of them yet. They picked songs that let them show off their wide range of style and shows just how good the settings for Japanese concerts can be.