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Tom Smith ponders the meaning behind the GazettE’s new album title

Imagine the scene; you’re seeing one of your favourite bands at their tour finale date. It’s an arena show. Fans from all over the country (as well as from other countries) have travelled to see it. The band’s just performed one of their new songs before walking off stage at the end of their set. There’s a sea of feedback from their guitars left to ring out as the sound slowly gets drowned our by cheers from fans chanting for an encore. Except, as their cheers grow, so does a plume of smoke that’s suddenly bellowing from one of the amps on stage. There’s a spark and now both amps are on fire, flames nearly double the size of the sound gear, and it’s spreading across the band’s entire backline as sirens blare. Then, bang, an explosion comes from the ceiling above the stage. Sparks fly everywhere and there’s more smoke. Moments later there’s a creaking noise and the lighting rig collapses above the audience, swinging wildly from the ceiling, narrowly missing the equipment below it on stage, followed by another section falling down as the stage erupts in a sea of explosions, fire and sparks. And then silence.

The above may sound the like the heavy metal apocalypse, but that scenario was exactly what happened to fans of the GazettE at the band’s tour finale show at Saitama Super Arena earlier this year. The video below, a teaser for their 2013 end of year tour, shows come brief clips from the event.

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It all happened between the time of their album DIVISION, and their newly released CD BEAUTIFUL DEFORMITY, both out now in Europe from JPU Records. As I’ve touched on before, I don’t believe record labels when they explain the concepts behind an album or song – click here for details of such involving the pop group SCANDAL.

The tour title, the one ending with all the explosions and whatnot was ‘[DIVISION] MELT’, the final track of the album. Similarly, the tour was placed between the release of DIVISION and their newest album, making it the middle grounds. Or, if you like, the prologue to BEAUTIFUL DEFORMITY.

BEAUTIFUL DEFORMITY’s official PR line from Japan is that it’s an album that captures the essence of the band; their music is a ‘beautiful deformity in the music scene’. Yeah, I can buy that – visual kei is a bit of an anomaly. But, I’m still not entirely convinced.

The scene outlined in the beginning does sound apocalyptic. Too apocalyptic, especially considering the Fukushima incident is still such a fresh issue globally. In fact, I would argue that the scene before the encore is meant to visually represent the disaster at the nuclear plant, and BEAUTIFUL DEFORMITY is the audio aftermath.

Think about it, naming an album after how awesome and wonderful you are doesn’t sit with Japan’s modest culture – and neither is it all that cool. Instead, if you think of the album title in a post-apocalyptical sense, it suddenly has a whole new range of meaning, from political and anarchical (people beginning to question those in power, and nuclear power no longer being seen as a reliable energy source), to morbid or optimistic. It all sounds a bit too heavy for an album that debuted at number eight in Japan’s Oricon chart.

Make your own mind up. The album is available now on CD and MP3 from JPU Records.

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