Reviewed by Paul S Ganney
I was very impressed with the previous album from Imari Tones ('Jesus Wind') and so had great expectations of this one, even when I learnt that with this, the final release from the Japanese band, they were moving beyond metal to take in other rock styles. Fans shouldn't worry that the band are going out with a whimper. There is still plenty of loud riffing guitars, pounding drums and short but sweet solos. This time, though, it's all sung in their native Japanese, which (not being any good at languages) made it harder to get into for me, especially on tracks that were more stripped back, such as "Kotoba", even when odd English phrases were slipped in. There are more of these than on 'Jesus Wind' and I found them hard to connect with. Better are the full-on ones where there is more interesting stuff going on instrumentally and the vocal lifts (such as into the chorus on "Cat Licks") convey the emotion that I couldn't draw from the lyrics. The guitar work is really good and they have a fabulous tone, as demonstrated by the intro and riffing in "Born Again". Here the vocal line reminded me of some of the twists and turns from Sparks in their pomp (but in a lower register, obviously). There's more complexity in "One More Continue" which has hints of prog-rock (especially Genesis) in the keyboard work, counterpointing the frenetic guitar riff splendidly. The best solo is on "Forgiven", a flowing, lyrical piece of work. I struggled with the Japanese, but there's still a lot here to enjoy.
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