11:00 - 5th December 2015, by David West

DOGMA – the GazettE

If DOGMA, the new album from the GazettE, proves anything, it is that Japanese bands still struggle with when to use capital letters. There’s a range of styles on display, opening with a dash of electronica – but mercifully the quintet turns away from any ill-considered attempt at dubstep to unleash the heaviness.

RAGE (turn off caps-lock for heaven’s sake!) showcases a blend of clean and growled vocals and Dir En Grey are an obvious reference, but when the GazettE aim for maximum heaviness they reach for the unrelenting assault of Meshuggah. That they don’t achieve it says more about Meshuggah’s extraordinary singlemindedness than anything else. Not many bands can match the Swedes’ terrifying ability to become one giant rhythmic machine of brutality.

There’s an obvious death metal influence to tracks like DERACINE that wasn’t present on 2012’s DIVISION, which really put the electronica up front, taking a cue from where bands like Korn were going at the time. Now it’s all drop-tuned guitars and plenty of growling instead. The music touches on symphonic metal in the more melodic moments, particularly when Ruki sings clean in OMINOUS, while DEUX starts off in that vein before they launch into a blastbeat breakdown in a sprint to the finish. DOGMA runs the risk of trying to be all things to all metalheads – melodic, symphonic, death, alternative – but should pack enough variety to keep everyone happy and headbanging.

The heaviest outing to date from the visual kei group, DOGMA delivers the crunch you crave.
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