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Imari Tones: Jesus Wind

Claiming to be possibly Japan's only Christian rock band, Imari Tones change tack slightly with their Jesus Wind opus. Known for being a wide ranging progressive outfit this three piece have this time turned their hand to something more metal, and something much more heavy. Indeed Imari Tones call Jesus Wind heavy metal and yet even with my earlier observations still intact, to me that's quite a stretch for most of this lengthy album.

A little history… 2004 was the year Imari Tones formed and 2008 saw the completion of the line-up of Tak, Hassy and Jake that survives to this day. Jesus Wind is actually this band's fifteenth full length release and if chatter round the net is anything to go by, it may well be the first to gain much notice in Europe and the US.

The overriding factor here is just how damn ambitious this album is – something that both proves its most endearing feature and the major stumbling block many will encounter. Split into three parts – past, present, future – Jesus Wind is a conceptual piece, Imari Tones arguing that much of their country's Samurai code and even medieval Buddhism was influenced by Christianity and in the 'past' section that's exactly what we find being covered by five tracks that detail this belief. 'Present' takes a more modern world view, linking similar themes and ideas to the manic everyday world we live in and the political issues it faces. While 'future' lays out the way ahead, tracks like "New Jerusalem" giving a strong indication of where Imari Tones feel the world's redemption will come from.

Musically things are no less ambitious and no less wide ranging. In fact the complexity and diversity may even put the lyrical ethos of this album in the shade. Everything from symphonic metal to hard rock, prog to garage rock, psych to melodic rock touched on as themes are brought on board and eschewed with equally brevity. With copious amounts of reverb washing across the whole shebang the results can be heady, involved and vintage, while also being energetic, forceful and stand offish. In short, if the tone and mood of the song you're currently listening to on Jesus Wind doesn't suit your mood, stick around for a few minutes, because what's coming next will be sure to head in a different direction altogether. 'Future' seems to have a strong affinity to Rush, 'past' is much dirtier, much more frantic and much more retro, while the 'present' goes wherever the hell it pleases.

Tak is a superb guitar player, the album's opening riff leaving no doubt of the power he can provide, while some of the fret histrionics truly mark him out as a soloist of real individual skill. However vocally things are much less straight forward, a wavering falsetto blurted out with a scattergun abandon, while the occasional gruff vocal/near growl is all a little comedic. Bizarrely it does all fit its surrounds and while you'll be hard pushed to find a less controlled or obvious voice to front this band's heavy sound, somehow it does all work… almost. Think Geddy Lee doing scales at full volume and adding a forced falsetto and you'll be close(ish) to what you'll find here... for some Tak's attack may be make or break.

The longer I've listened to Imari Tones the more their wide ranging madness has clicked into place. The vocals are still a voyage of discovery and at times you do wish the band as a whole would maybe just rein things in at least slightly. However this weird and varied approach is what makes Imari Tones the band they are and in the process Jesus Wind might just be the wackiest, craziest, most interesting piece of Christian music I've encountered.

Track Listing
1. Jee-You
2. Dying Prophet
3. God's People
4. Saints Seeking Salvation
5. Bushido
6. The War
7. The Peace
8. Remembrance
9. The Wave
10. When The Nation Falls
11. This is How Freedom Dies
12. Repent
13. Don't Stop Walking
14. Revolution
15. New Jerusalem

Added: March 17th 2018
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Jesus Wind @ bandcamp
Hits: 1216
Language: english

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