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Imari Tones: Nabeshima

Back in 2018 I reviewed the Jesus Wind album from Japanese Christian heavy metal band Imari Tones, suggesting that “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.”

Well, considering that now we have Nabeshima, a 24 track, double CD from the band, my guess would be that Imari Tones have absolutely no intention of reining in their excesses, or indeed of toning down their attack in any shape or form. Again, we get lyrics sung in Japanese and, truth be told, tough to decipher English, and with Tone still vocally howling like a banshee, whispering like the wind, singing sweetly and screaming for all he’s worth, his efforts careen from warm and engaging to a test of patience. The journey is, of course, no less scattergun musically, with a mostly straight ahead rock attack deconstructed and rebuilt under a whole host of guises. “Atomic Jam” being nearly as free-form and almost shred like as you’d imagine, while “123,4&5” is, for the most part, grown up 80s rock. But then “Yamagoya3” is a restrained instrumental acoustic guitar workout, while “The Garden” is some sort fo ramshackle drum clatter that’s almost, but not quite, a power ballad, well, not really but had it been schmaltzed up and had its strangulated guitar solo and nails on a blackboard vocals been replaced with sumptuous melodies and Ann Wilson from Heart on the microphone, it could have been. Or not…

That is though, in many ways, the issue here, because I’d suggest that this album is probably too out there for the straight up rock crowd, not heavy enough to be the metal this band themselves seem to be aiming for and never quite stand up, stick out weird enough to pull in the avant-garders. And yet, somehow it’s difficult to simply dismiss Imari Tones, what with their downright refusal to tame their musical attack and beliefs, or how they bring them all together. Maybe the main stumbling block for Nabeshima actually comes from the sheer weight of the 24 tracks that have been assembled, with the possibility of a single disc album arguably having the ability to hit home in a way that this sprawling collection never quite achieves. Although, truth be told, I’m not fully convinced it would.

Track Listing
Disc 1: 1. Passion 2. Lord’s Prayer 3. Sakura Day 4. Atomic Jam 5. 123,4&5 6. Sakura Night 7. Extravaganza 8. Chanbara 9. Yamagoya3 10. Jidai 11. Bloodthirsty 12. God Anthem

Disk 2: 1. Crucified Boy 2. Sonic Soldiers 3. The Garden 4. Who Are You 5. Sengoku Christians 6. Screaming Sin 7. Matsuo 8. Once In A Lifetime 9. Redemption 10. Tsukuru 11. Not Of This World 12. Utage

Added: January 15th 2022
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Imari Tones online
Hits: 433
Language: english

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