Rock of Asia: Asian Anthology

Rock of Asia
Asian Anthology


Folk, rock, and traditional Japanese music fuse into Rock of Asia’s output. Nikki Matsumoto is the architect of this unusual blend, represented on the new 14-song Asian Anthology. Commemorating the 10th anniversary of the band’s first release, we get thrown right into the wild mix with opener “Lal Dhagna,” built around a tribal beat, featuring high flute-like sounds and a desperate vocal attack.

Things get a little more metallic and chunkier on “Belief,” Kay Suzuki’s violin leading Matsumoto’s most commercial rockin’ vocal of these earlier tunes. Things slow down on the more traditional Japanese sounding (best to my limited knowledge) “Kojo No Tsuki.” The melody here, again rendered by a layering of traditional instruments and Suzuki’s heartbreaking violin, is pretty much breathtaking.

Things get almost Led Zep-like with Yasushisa Murase’s acoustic setting the quick pace for ‘The Parallel;” yet another great tune. The slapping drums, the layering of strings, and that acoustic make this another highlight here for me. Matsumoto (not the best of vocalists) even floats around the concoction effectively.

“The Son,” another high-spirited snapping, violin playing kinetic pacer and “The Daughter,” called a ‘bonus track’ ends, a pretty plucked moment from Murase once again, and some incredible layering of harmonies near its end. This one-two punch ends Rock Of Asia’s compilation from a studied career.

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