Imari Tones
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Imari Tones

Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan | Established. Jan 01, 2004 | SELF

Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan | SELF
Established on Jan, 2004
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"Imari Tones"

Imari Tones is THE Japanese rock band that will succeed in penetrating American media. Their sound is comparable to that of Van Halen and AC/DC, but with staggering differences. Imari Tones is successfully bridging the gap between the American and Japanese cultures. Their mastery of the English language is greater than many other Japanese bands that get caught in the struggle with pronounciation. Aside from their outstanding pronounciation, the vocals are clear, with classical sounding metal screams, that are quite melodic in style.

Their melodic, and almost symphonic metal sound will catch your attention at first listen. On occasion, the guitar sounds resemble those of HIM, but to the opposite extreme, the greats of the band Symphony X. Drums in "Saratoga Stream" push the listeners to the edge of their seats, perfectly complimenting the smooth screams of the vocalist. Imari Tone's bass is the heart of the band. They have perfectly blended the bass, never letting it overpower like some wanna-be metalistas.

Five stars for Imari Tones! America wants you here!
- ~*InTeNsE*~


"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 ?gOur Side?h, and the second half is titled ?gHis Side?h. It?fs an overall song suite that suggests a spiritual education, beginning with a track called ?gWelcome to the School?h, and ending with one titled ?gGraduated from the School?h. 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 ?gTone?h on guitars and vocals, Yuki ?gHassy?h on bass, and ?gHide ?gJake?h at the drums. Tone's guitar work and singing are the act?fs 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?fs 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, ?gI Love You Now Ur on Your Own?h has a nicely chugging rhythm part, with drumming that nostalgically brings Van Halen?fs 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?fs 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 ?gGraduated from the School?h. 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 ?gStay Beautiful?h, 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 ?gRockn?f Roll Is the Proof God loves us?h. 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 ?gBallroom Blitz?h) 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, ?gHe?fs Still With Us?h includes the following line: ?gWhere is the God who gave me my life??h 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?f road to success is Tak "Tone"?fs recurring struggle to enunciate clearly in English. When the songs are slower, as with ?gStay Beautiful?h, 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?fve heard before. Their Japanese take on American hard rock, along with their overt spiritual overtones, makes this a truly exotic find.

-- Dan MacIntosh - Dan MacIntosh


"Japanese Pop"

Quite unique blend of punk rock and heavy metal is the key of Imari Tones. Strong guitar sound is provided by Tone which is rare for is kind. - Air Pavilion Music


"Japanese Pop"

Like so many other things that we share with Japan, we also share a love of Rock ?en?f Roll. Right now, there are many bands in Japan that are making their own versions of Rock ?en?f Roll. In fact, one of the most famous bands in Japan is the Heavy Metal band Loudness.

Like Loudness before them, the band Imari Tones is currently making a name for themselves in the Japanese music scene. The band was formed when Tak ?gTone?h took a solo recording project and turned it into a band. Along with ?gTone?h on guitar and vocals (as well as keys), the rest of the trio is made up of Yuki ?gHassy?h on bass, and Hide ?gJake?h on drums. Together, the trio has created a rock release entitled ?gJapanese Pop?h.

Japanese Pop from Imari Tones is a release that contains several different styles of rock that will make you think back to other periods in music history, at least it will for American rock fans. ?gSkies of Tokyo?h sounds like it would have come from the era of the 1980?fs when Hair Bands were popular. ?gWinning Song?h has a sound that would have fit in the 1980?fs power rock, as would ?gNew World?h. And then there is the track of ?gThat?fs Why I Love You?h. ?gThat?fs Why I Love You?h is a power ballad with a heavy metal feel that sounds like it would have fit on Hurricane Eyes or any other album from Loudness.

And then, there is the song Juku Shiki. Juku Shiki is a song that could be described as a song with two personalities: part of the time, it sounds like a power pop song; and other times, it sounds like something from the band Devo, with the same jerky feel that Devo became known for.

Along with Juku Shiki, the most interesting tracks on the Japanese Pop album come at the very end of the release. When the rest of the album features Tak ?gTone?h as the band?fs singer and guitarist, ?gI?h is a track that features Tak on double duty as he plays both guitar and keyboards. ?gI?h shows that Tak is a very fine pianist as well as guitarist. ?gI?h also sets itself apart from the rest of the album as Tak sings the lyrics to the song in Japanese. This is the first of two songs on the album that features Japanese lyrics as the band also includes a Japanese version of ?gWinning Song?h at the end of the album. The band actually sounds a little better this way because the English lyrics become difficult to understand at certain spots because of Tak?fs accent. But as I always point out, he can sing in English while I can?ft even speak Japanese. A little difficulty understanding someone singing in a language other than his own is acceptable.

The album Japanese Pop by Imari Tones also seems to have a ?gtwo personalities?h feel in the production of the tracks. This feel comes from the fact that Tak Yonemachi produced seven tracks of the release, and Sascha Paeth, a German producer that is known for his work with heavy metal bands, produced the remaining three tracks.

Japanese Pop is a very appropriate title for the album by Imari Tones. With the different styles of rock that are contained on the album, there is no one genre of rock that the album could be filed under; the only way to describe the music on the album is by calling it ?gpop?h.

With the different styles that are contained in the album, Imari Tones created a very solid and entertaining album in Japanese Pop. As the album is not currently available for purchase in the United States, you can find Japanese Pop, the current album by Imari Tones by going to http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/imaritones.

You can find the band at www.imaritones.net. You can also find the band on MySpace at www.myspace.com/imaritones. - Matheson Kamin


"Straight Edge Live Review"

Imari Tones plays straight hard rock. Catchy melody flys over the instruments, mixed influence of '70s and '80s, even punk and jazz. It also has much in common with mighty Van Halen, that Tak"Tone", leader of the band, adores so much. - abovedaworld.com


"Japanese Christian metal band Imari Tones to rock out Capital City"

The Imari Tones are coming all the way from Japan to rock out at Mechanicsburg's Capital Area Christian Church at 8:20 pm on Saturday, Feb. 20.
The Imari Tones are a Christian Rock band from Yokohama, Japan, an oddity as Japan is less than one percent Christian.
"In Japan nobody plays Christian heavy metal," explained guitarist/lead singer Takahiro Nakamine, "Tak" for short. "Some of our friends told us we better not say we are Christians because some people have prejudice on Christians. But when we visited USA last time, everybody looked pleased when we said we're a Christian band from Japan. It turned out people thought it was some kind of joke."
It's no joke, though, and it's no church service either: This trio has its heavy-metal credentials in order. Heavy-metal power player Sascha Paeth produced their first album, "Japanese Pop" in Germany in 2006.
They weren't even identified as a Christian band until 2008, when they released two more albums. A fourth album, "Welcome to the School" came out last year. They are currently under contract but won't say with whom as they intend to change labels this year.
"Basically we are old school eighties metal," Tak says. "We don't hesitate to rock hard… we perform under the philosophy, Jesus is a Rock!" A music video for their song "Karma Flower" is below.
The Imari Tones will perform at the Capital Area Christian Church located at 1775 Lambs Gap Road Mechanicsburg, PA (717) 732-1882 at 8:20 pm on Saturday, February 20th as part of the Millennium Music Conference 14. This is the first time a church has been part of MMC. - After Dark with PennLive.com


"Straight Edge Live Review"

Imari Tones plays straight hard rock. Catchy melody flys over the instruments, mixed influence of '70s and '80s, even punk and jazz. It also has much in common with mighty Van Halen, that Tak"Tone", leader of the band, adores so much. - abovedaworld.com


"IMARI TONES Welcome To The School"

Christian Rock from Japan? Yes, I've just wet myself too. But this is no joke.

Opening title track is very cheesy guitar pop, and lets things down, because when the rock really does start, this three piece produce some high energy metal chock full of chops, riffs and the odd solo.

The vocals are rather high, we're not quite in King Diamond country but there is definitely something clamped on to his testicles. 'Illusions' gets a little jangly at times but when it rocks it REALLY rocks.

While this is largely rock, there are a range of sounds, it's not all all-out metal. A lot of beefed up 80s rock/pop, some trad metal, some power metal, indie, beefed up guitar-pop.

It's all very energetic, some good stuff in here, but equally a little inconsistent, and at times a little jangly.

Some tracks do stand out, but I'd listen online first. ***

Review by Joe Geesin (Get Ready To Rock)

http://www.getreadytorock.com/reviews2009/quick_play1209.htm - Ger Ready to ROCK!


"IMARI TONES Welcome To The School"

Christian Rock from Japan? Yes, I've just wet myself too. But this is no joke.

Opening title track is very cheesy guitar pop, and lets things down, because when the rock really does start, this three piece produce some high energy metal chock full of chops, riffs and the odd solo.

The vocals are rather high, we're not quite in King Diamond country but there is definitely something clamped on to his testicles. 'Illusions' gets a little jangly at times but when it rocks it REALLY rocks.

While this is largely rock, there are a range of sounds, it's not all all-out metal. A lot of beefed up 80s rock/pop, some trad metal, some power metal, indie, beefed up guitar-pop.

It's all very energetic, some good stuff in here, but equally a little inconsistent, and at times a little jangly.

Some tracks do stand out, but I'd listen online first. ***

Review by Joe Geesin (Get Ready To Rock)

http://www.getreadytorock.com/reviews2009/quick_play1209.htm - Ger Ready to ROCK!


Discography

Heroes EP (iTunes, 2013)
Japan Metal Jesus (iTunes and Amazon, 2012)
Victory In Christ (iTunes and Amazon, 2010)
Welcome To The School (iTunes and CD baby, 2009)
Japanese Pop (2008)

Photos

Bio

Of the long list of factors that make ImariTones stand out from the world around them, it is their drive, their reach that tops it all. An unapologetically Christian heavy metal band out of Japan, Tak, Hassy, and Jake have a passion to reach beyond their culture to make the music they love, and to reach beyond their music to bring Jesus into their culture. While drawing comparisons to legends like Van Halen, Rush, and Stryper with their hybrid of old school metal/glam/Brit/70’s prog rock, they are one of very few bands in the world that can claim true originality. How so? They are the first Christian heavy metal band ever to come out of Japan.

“There are very few Japanese bands who say ‘Hey, we’re a Christian band.’ A Christian band from Japan almost sounds like a joke, since most people in Japan are Buddhists, or Atheists,” says Tak, founder, guitar/vocalist, and frontman of ImariTones. Things didn’t start out Christian for Tak, though. Having started playing electric guitar at age 14 and joining his first band at 15, Tak gained local teen success in his hometown of Toyohashi and won awards for his songwriting. However, he quit the band at 17 to pursue a career as a lawyer. Music stayed with him, though, and while playing an acoustic show in Harajuku Tokyo in December of 2007, Tak was impressed by several Christian performers who were playing as well. Feeling that Jesus may be the larger meaning behind music that he always felt was there, his mind and heart opened to Christianity.

Breaking many written and unwritten rules of Japanese culture, Tak, Hassy on bass/background vocals, and Jake on drums/background vocals, are reaching upward and forward to see changes happen in the world. Currently based in Yokohama, their astonishing 15-album discography includes Hero of the Lights, Color of Hers, fireworks, Japanese Pop produced by metal legend Sascha Paeth (Angra, Edguy, Rhapsody of Fire, Avantasia, Kamelot), Welcome to the School, and their most recent release Victory in Christ. Not content to play the standard soft pop/rock of the major label Christian industry, their music is 100% heavy metal and 100% independently recorded and produced. Victory in Christ hit the street in October 2010 with the single “Faith Rider” leading the charge. Originally written as a parody of the big 80’s metal of Judas Priest and Stryper, it quickly became a fan favorite and was put on Victory in Christ.

With both their commitment to making stellar heavy metal music and their driving passion to share Jesus with their native Japan and the rest of the world, ImariTones is always reaching to join these two primary goals together. “Since we are a Christian band, our goal is not business success,” says Tak. “We are not chasing glory in this world. We are chasing the glory of God.” Staying independent and record label-free is an important part of the process for them. “We don’t believe in ‘music business’, especially in Japan, and have chosen to go independent, looking for our own way. We really want to change something about society and about what people think and believe. That’s our ultimate goal.”

That ultimate goal, to see their native Japan embrace Christianity, is what they reach for most of all, even while their sights are set on the USA and the rest of the world. Some think they’re a joke, or a contradiction, that Christianity, Japan, and heavy metal just don’t belong together. Some think they’re ahead of their time. But if you ask Tak, Hassy, and Jake, they’ll say they’re doing exactly what they love at exactly the right time, and they’re never going to stop reaching for more.

Band Members