K-pop boy band Enhypen returned for the first time in 10 months with its new album Dark Blood.
During its comeback showcase held in Seoul on last Monday, the seven members appeared on stage in black suits, with their handsome faces even paler than usual.
Don't be fooled by the spooky visuals of the group's new album, however, as Dark Blood is an album devoted to expressing the group's heartfelt gratitude and love towards their fans.
"We received a lot of love and support from our fans when we met them after the pandemic. We realised that we were closely connected with Engenes. This album shows our gratitude for Engenes through the story of a boy," said Sunghoon on Monday. Engene is the name of the band's official fan base.
The new album marks the end of the group's longest hiatus. Dark Blood comes 10 months since the release of the band's third EP Manifesto: Day 1 in July 2022.
"It was a meaningful year," the band's leader Jungwon said. "We've been on our longest break, and, during that time, we launched our first world tour and were invited to various awarding ceremonies. We also attended our first fashion show."
In January, the group flew to Milan to attend Prada's 2023 fall-winter male collection fashion show as the only South Korean representatives invited. This was the first time all the members of a K-pop band were invited to an overseas fashion show.
The group also successfully wrapped up its first world tour "Manifesto" in February. Debuting at the height of global lockdowns in September 2020, Enhypen members met their fans for the first time through the global series.
Starting in September, the seven-member group held 22 shows in 13 cities in the US and Asia. During the series, the band became the fourth-generation K-pop band to hold a dome concert. "Fourth-generation" collectively refers to the K-pop acts which debuted between late 2019 and 2022.
"We learned about stage conduct, attitude and performance through the tour.... The world tour and our dome debut have encouraged us to take the next step," Jay said.
Melting the yearlong experience into their music, Enhypen have embarked on a new series, "Blood" series, with the new album. The band has so far put out six albums under three series: Border, Dimension and Manifesto.
Fronting Dark Blood is the title song Bite Me, a pop score conveying a message about love and connection. The lyrics tell the story of a boy who realizes that he is connected to "you" through blood.
Heeseung directed the song's vocal recording, while Ni-Ki contributed to crafting the main choreography for it.
"The sound is unconventional for our group and I attempted the recording from various angles and discovered a way to combine the different charms of each member," Heeseung said, adding "I'm happy that the song turned out well."
Along with Bite Me, the album also composes five other vampire-themed songs: Fate, Sacrifice (Eat Me Up), Chaconne, Bills and Karma.
Enhypen, which consists of the seven winners of 2019 Mnet survival program I-Land, began its journey in 2020 with its first album Border: Day One.
Soaring to stardom through its debut, the group nabbed its first million-seller title in just a year with its first LP Dimension: Dilemma, racking up over 1.13 million units.
In June 2022, the group's third EP Manifesto: Day 1 also garnered a million units in sales on its second day, making Enhypen the fastest K-pop group to notch up two million-seller albums with a debut.
The group shared its aspiration to keep growing with its new album.
Ni-Ki said, "We want to continue advancing as artists and make ourselves known to more people. Hopefully, we can hold another world tour and spread our energy to more Engenes around the world." – By Choi Ji-won/The Korea Herald/Asia News Network