Musical Reflection: the GazettE – NIL

the-gazette-2006-nilNIL

1. The End
2. Nausea & Shudder
3. Bath Room
4. Maggots
5. 生暖かい雨とざらついた情熱
6. D.L.N
7. Shadow VI II I
8. バレッタ (Baretta)
9. Cassis
10. Silly God Disco
11. Discharge
12. 体温

the GazettE’s second album, NIL was released on February of 2006, making it 11 years old at the time of writing this. With that said, this album still remains as one of my favorite albums released by them, or anyone else. 

1. The End
(song)

A somewhat groovy, yet passive intro song. It opens with the bass and from there slowly builds up tension in the tracks 2 minutes. There are vocals which are really unintelligible spoken words tossed in for effect. The song ends on a gunshot, which works very well as a way to start of the next song.

2. Nausea & Shudder
(Live) (Lyrics)

This song is the perfect opening song for the album. It has a certain old western feel to it, which goes with the album cover perfectly. This song rocks hard with a gritty feel, with the first vocals you hear being a sort of chant that brings the image of an old steam train to mind. The song invokes a certain sense of freedom, but along with it a feeling of emptiness or loneliness that you can’t manage to toss aside. While Nausea & Shudder is defenitly a song you can head bang to, it has it’s fair share of entrancing melodic pieces, especially towards the end. Simply fantastic.

3. Bath Room
(song)

The song starts off with the sound of water drops. The instruments come in when the second drop “hits the floor.” The song starts off a bit eerie, until the guitar comes in providing a mildly upbeat riff, before we get the first verse. If anything the beginning of this song lays out the general mood for the song as a whole, that is to say it’s a bit unsettling. For most of the song the guitar delivers a series of short chords which really gives this song that unsettling feel. Bath Room is a story about a man that finds his mother dead in a bathtub, and the emotional problems formed from such.

4. Maggots
(song) (Lyrics)

Maggots greets you with the distorted screech of the electric guitar, before going to full on hard rock, head banging territory. This is a very aggressive song, full of disdain and anger. It does calm down for a tiny bit halfway though, only to pick up right where it left off, and ending on that same aggressive note. I usually skip this song, as I don’t care for it, and the next song is so much better.

5. 生暖かい雨とざらついた情熱 (Namaatatakai Ame to Zaratsuita Jounetsu)
[Lukewarm Rain and Rough Passion] (song) (Lyrics)

Right from the start, you can tell this song is fun one. It’s the kind of fun that you feel when you’re doing something you want to do, but know you shouldn’t be doing it. It’s a naughty kind of fun. The song feels as if progresses from planning out the “fun,” to committing the “fun,” before finally being caught in the act of the “fun,” then ending on running away from those who would punish you. If that makes any sense. I like to think of the song as a theme for misadventures, although the actual lyrics are bit darker, but defenitly fit with the feel.

6. D.L.N
(song) (Lyrics)

The first ballad of the album, starting off with acoustic guitar which immediately brings to mind the image of a star filled night sky. This song is rather peaceful, if not a bit sorrowful. The chorus has backing vocals from what sounds to be a choir singing “Song of sheep in Dark Long Night.” The line is likely a reference to how one counts sheep to go to sleep, while also providing the meaning of the title. While D.L.N is a pretty relaxing song, it’s lyrics are sorrowful as they tell the story of someone who is losing their vision, doomed to an eternal Dark Long Night.

7. Shadow VI II I
(song) (Lyrics)

Upbeat, and fun Shadow VI II I starts off with drums and an enjoyable bass line. Unlike Namaatatakai Ame to Zaratsuita Jounetsu, Shadow VI II I is simply fun and pure. It’s a bit playful, and has an encouraging sound to it. This song was written as a letter to the fans, encouraging them to go on with life, and to not commit suicide.

8. バレッタ (Baretta)
(song) (Lyrics)

I’d like to say Baretta is a ballad, but the song plays at a faster tempo so…. Well, the feel from Baretta fits that of a ballad. It does start of slowly, and quietly with the feel of an aftermath of sorts. If anything I’d say this song carries a strong feeling of reminiscence. The latter half of the song is defenitly where I wouldn’t call it a ballad as it goes full blast with a highly emotional chorus, followed by a short bass solo(?), then directly followed up by a guitar solo, before ending on a final chorus.

9. Cassis
(PV) (Lyrics)

The song. The only song. Best song. If you were to ask what my favorite song was, the answer would be Cassis. Cassis is a power ballad, that starts off with an intro from an acoustic guitar and bass, which “explodes” into the chord progression used in the song, accompanied by piano. Then it calms down, as the verse begins, returning with the acoustic guitar. There’s an instrumental break, then we get a second verse, before  getting to the pre-chorus, and then finally the well earned emotive chorus. The chorus is followed by a guitar solo, which is then followed by the bridge, which takes us back to one final pre-chorus and chorus. The song ends on a second guitar solo which sees the song to its conclusion as it fades away.

With that kind of pattern, this song exemplifies my favorite kind of songs. It builds up to a climax before coming down and ending, just like a story. A lot of songs generally stay on the same emotional level, and while enjoyable, it’s songs like this that stick with me. Cassis is a love song with themes touching on the regret you feel upon hurting someone, wishing to never hurt another again, and loving someone unconditionally no matter what they may have done.

Of note, the song has two english lines that don’t make to much sense being:

“I will walk together, the future not promised
It keeps walking together, to the future in which you are…”

I’ve always taken this to mean:

“I will walk together (with my words/promises), the future (is) not promised
It (I with my vow) keeps walking together, to the future in which you are…”

While these lines don’t bug me that much, the fact that this song is going to be on their ballad best of album coming out on the 8th, which all songs have been rerecorded makes me hope he’s rewritten these english lyrics. Guess I’ll find out soon enough.

10. Silly God Disco
(song) (Lyrics)

This song is simply funky, groovy, and has a way of making you want to move. The title is aptly named. Besides being some funky fun, the song also has a certain level of smugness to it, that’s just entertaining. It’s a kind of smugness that you can’t help but smile, or rather smirk to. Also of note is that the majority of this song is sung in English, but considering Ruki’s accent is thick you may have a hard time understanding him.

11. Discharge
(song)

Like Maggots, this is another hard head banging song. Discharge is more aggressive, and has no breaks, or calmer moments. It starts at 100% anger and ends at 100% anger. Unlike Maggots, I always skip this song.

12. 体温 (Taion) [Body Temperature]
(song) (Lyrics)

Taion is a hard, and heavy conclusion to NIL, both lyrically and musically. It begins with a dark atmosphere and just adds to it. After the first verse the song goes into a slow methodical kind of head banging feel, accompanied by some growl like screams. The chorus to this song is lighter, and is sung in a sing-song fashion, with a pretty guitar melody backing it. After the chorus there’s a guitar solo which has the sensation of wandering around lost somewhere. From there the song more or less repeats the verse and chorus once more before coming to a close. While I do like this song, I’d probaly like it more without the screams. With that said though, they do add to the emotion as, the lyrically the song is sung from the point of view of a victim being held as captive, and tortured.

cassis

The Gazette: Cassis Look

Closing Thoughts:

I find NIL to be a big step up from Disorder, the quality of the music sounds better, and the songs themselves just ARE better. To me at least. Like I said before, NIL is one of my top albums ever, but that doesn’t mean I like every song. Maggots i hardly ever bother giving a listen, while every time Discharge comes up I skip it, these two songs are just a bit to much for me. Then there’s Shadow VI II I while a fan favorite, for some reason doesn’t give me any special feelings or attachment to it, I like it, just no nearly as much as the rest of the album. If I were to recommend an album from the GazettE, this would be the first one I’d list. That’s right, go listen to this music that’s over a decade old. You can buy NIL over at CD Japan, here.

Happy 15th Anniversary, the GazettE.

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