Dir En Grey might be one of the planet's biggest cult bands: almost unrecognized on Main Street, yet — despite singing in their native Japanese — able to sell out theater-size venues across continents. They long ago traded in their early alt-pop leanings for a riff-based, prog-metal approach, which has restlessly evolved over eight albums and a jet-lagged decade of international touring. Dum Spiro Spero, released in August, is a spiky yet atmospheric offering that lurks somewhere between (former tour mates) Deftones' dark art and deft Dream Theater–ish shreddery. The album's slightly stale nü-metal musk is more than masked by vocalist Kyo, who summons a tonal and emotional range (from conversational, confessional murmuring to an androgynous howl) unimaginable to the Fred Dursts of this world.

Fri., Dec. 23, 8 p.m., 2011

LA Weekly