There has been a surge in popularity in the last few years with bands form Japan, whether they be J Pop bands, or electronic-metal bands like Crossfaith. The four piece that is One Ok Rock burst onto the scene back in 2005 and ‘Eye Of The Storm’ is their ninth studio album. One Ok Rock are vocalist Taka, guitarist Toru, bassist Ryota and drummer Tomoya.
Title track “Eye of the Storm” is up first and it’s heavily infused with synth and electronica, especially during the choruses. Taka’s vocal ability shines through in the latter half and is one of the highlights of the track. Track two is “Stand Out Fit In” and honestly, it feels more like your average, run of the mill, pop track. It wouldn’t go astray on the latest 5 Seconds Of Summer or Ed Sheeran record. However, it does have a really positive message that permeates throughout about being yourself, and not conforming and being what other people want you to be.
“Head High” has some pretty cool snare parts that run throughout, something reminiscent of a high school marching band but impressive nonetheless. There’s also another really positive message being told through the lyrics about not being afraid, pushing through and being the best that you can be. In track four, “Grow Old Die Young”, Tomoya carries the track with a great drum beat and the riffage provided by Toru pins it from underneath in perfect synchronisation
“Push Back” and “Wasted Nights” are tracks five and six respectively. Push Back has some great layered vocals to kick the track off and the vocal harmonies are really well done. I can see it playing really well live due to the repetitive beat throughout that a live audience can stomp or clap their hands in time with. Wasted Nights plays out a lot like a ballad and Taka again shows off his incredible vocal ability and range. If you really need to feel something, then this is the track that will do it for you so play it loud and play it proud.
“Letting Go” and “Worst In Me” are next up. There’s a bit of a Twenty One Pilots feel to Letting Go, and a little bit of Train as well but somehow, it works. An acoustic riff makes the backbone of this track, with everything else building around it. Worst In Me is another great lyrical story with more layered vocals that give the track more depth. The outro is a musically a highlight on this one for me.
“In the Stars” is stripped back, raw, open and emotional with funky guitar and bass riffs that are perfectly balanced with the drums. With guest vocals from Kiiara, the harmonies between her and Taka draw you in and you have no choice but to pay attention and catch feels. “Giants” is next up and Taka is here to remind you that he isn’t just your average vocalist and has range, depth and an incredible voice. There’s a really pretty piano piece that takes centre stage in the softer parts of the track before the drums, guitar and bass kick in to pump you right back up again.
Second to last is “Unforgettable”, and lyrically it calls to your inner (or maybe outer) angsty teenager that isn’t ready to be forgotten. There’s also a really cool whistle/flute part in this track and I guarantee you, you’re going to get caught up and try (and most likely fail) to keep up with, and in tune with it. Fittingly, the final track is called “The Last Time” and it’s definitely ending the record on a high note. The rocky drums, guitar and bass that you’re maybe not entirely ready for blow up right in your face and demand you pay attention. Even though it’s the final track, it’s one of the best ones on the record. Wind your windows down, turn the volume up and drive down the highway singing along and air drumming and guitaring is the best way to experience this one.
Get your copy of ‘Eye Of The Storm’, out now via Warner Bros. Records HERE!