Imari Tones | Welcome To The School

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Rock: Hard Rock Spiritual: Christian Rock Moods: Christian
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Welcome To The School

by Imari Tones

Japanese Christian Hard Rock. Recommended if you like Van Halen, Stryper, Extreme.
Genre: Rock: Hard Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Welcome To The School
1:39 album only
2. Illusions
4:13 album only
3. God Has No Name
3:41 album only
4. Freedoom
4:20 album only
5. i love you, now ur on your own
4:23 album only
6. Never Too Late To Learn
4:13 album only
7. Rockn'Roll is the proof God loves us
3:32 album only
8. He's Still With Us
4:23 album only
9. Only One Wish
4:36 album only
10. V.I.C.
3:25 album only
11. First Pop
4:27 album only
12. Stay Beautiful
4:21 album only
13. Graduated From The School
1:50 album only


Album Notes

Welcome To The School

Welcome To The School reflects Japanese band IMARi ToNES newfound focus on Christian hard rock. In a tip of the hat to old school phonograph records, this latest CD is broken down into two parts. The first section is labeled “Our Side”, and the second half is titled “His Side”. It’s an overall song suite that suggests a spiritual education, beginning with a track called “Welcome to the School”, and ending with one titled “Graduated from the School”. IMARi ToNES, one is lead to believe, is out to school listeners on hard rock, with a little religion thrown in for good measure.

This trio, which has been together since 2004, is based in Tokyo and Yokohama, Japan. Its members include Tak “Tone” on guitars and vocals, Yuki “Hassy” on bass, and “Hide “Jake” at the drums. Tone's guitar work and singing are the act’s two most distinguishing features. His voice often modulates from a low, conversational tone, to a high pitched screech.

Musically, listening to Welcome To The School might take you back to the heyday of Hollywood’s Sunset Strip; back to a time when groups like Poison and Stryper ruled the rock world. Tak "Tone" is highly skilled at pulling off the kind of fast guitar solos that make audience member jaws drop in unison. Conversely, this band also knows how to put together memorable pop-rock songs, too. For instance, “I Love You Now Ur on Your Own” has a nicely chugging rhythm part, with drumming that nostalgically brings Van Halen’s skin man, Alex Van Halen, to mind. That was an era when David Lee Roth was still with the band and all was well with Pasadena’s finest.

Although this rock act clearly has its metal chops down pat, Welcome To The School opens with a track that comes off closer to British music hall music than anything else. Over a loping beat, Tak "Tone" leads the way like a joyful pied piper. This same melody is reprised again, by the way, with “Graduated from the School”. And while the beat to this latter version is far more rock-friendly, the track nevertheless tones the proceedings down considerably with acoustic guitars and a shuffling rhythm. IMARi ToNES reveals a quieter side with “Stay Beautiful”, which has a slow, old time rock & roll groove, which features a sweetly bluesy guitar solo.

One of this disc's most intriguing song titles is “Rockn’ Roll Is the Proof God loves us”. This is likely not ground commonly explored by most theologians and skeptics. In fact, many religious folk have asserted that rock & roll is solid proof that the devil has control of modern music. On the tune itself, Tak "Tone" sings/speaks much of its lyric while Hassy plucks out a funky bass line. There are moments during this track, in fact, where The Sweet (of “Ballroom Blitz”) comes front and center to mind.

IMARi ToNES may be a faith-oriented rock act, but they are by no a means preachy one. For instance, “He’s Still With Us” includes the following line: “Where is the God who gave me my life?” This particular lyrical tactic utilized, one imagines, to put the band members in the shoes of fans who may be spiritual seekers.

The only potential pothole in IMARi ToNES’ road to success is Tak "Tone"’s recurring struggle to enunciate clearly in English. When the songs are slower, as with “Stay Beautiful”, his vocalizing is as clear as day, but whenever the sonic gets revved up loud and fast, his singing oftentimes gets eaten up by the busy mix.

Guaranteed, IMARi ToNES is like no other hard rock band you’ve heard before. Their Japanese take on American hard rock, along with their overt spiritual overtones, makes this a truly exotic find.

-- Dan MacIntosh



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