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  • By the late 2000s, Gazette have become one of the most well-known Japanese heavy rock bands overseas, and Dim shows why. There are many J-rockers who try to build on the sound of Marilyn Manson and Sevendust, but few pull it off convincingly -- the results, in most cases, are either not heavy enough or too frantic and boring; however, there's no one like Gazette to balance J-rock melodrama and punch-`em-in-the-gut riffage that is the alpha and omega of Helmet-spawned alternative metal. Simply put, Gazette sound almost like an American band fronted by a Japanese vocalist -- unoriginal, maybe, but they would make a good American band, and anyway, the boys are too intense to care. The group never resorts to simply palm mute chugging their way through -- the riffs are varied, heavy as the soul of Dracula, groovy and constantly melodic: Dim is an ambitious record, but it never wanders off into extreme depths of gothic angst like Dir en Grey sometimes do, sounding instead like Slipknot playing Powerman 5000 covers. The vocals are mostly a deep, weepy baritone that is the stock voice of the Japanese scene, but it's balanced by some rapping and growling, and generally works well, because the rest of the band sweats away building a wall of sound that lends conviction to what could have otherwise been a wimpy emofest, but sounds just emotional. Another credit to Gazette is that they aren't slipping into safe pop/rock after a couple of harder numbers like many J-rockers do: the album stays relentless from start to finish. Dim may be based on American templates, but the leaders of the alt-metal pack ought to watch their backs, because this record confirms Gazette to be tough competition. ~ Alexey Eremenko
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