Record Reviews

Re-Arise “Revive”

Japan’s Re-Arise performs classic hard rock on its third album.

Formed in Tokyo in 2009, “Revive” is the band Re-Arise’s third studio album, following “Re-Arise” (2012) and “Re-Arise II” (2016). Re-Arise plays classic hard rock based on the tradition created by the British hard rock bands of the 1970s. The album features only seven songs because these are long, epic compositions. Vocalist Dio Ken (Ken Akama) has a voice to die for. Many know him for his many tribute shows singing Ronnie James Dio songs. Japan has many rock bands but few of them have a singer like Dio Ken. Re-Arise’s great classic hard rock songs are built around Dio Ken’s voice.

The album’s seven tracks are all of a high quality. These musicians – Sohgo Yokoyama on bass, Shin Akama on drums, Koji “Punky” Shimura on guitar and Sosaku Sasaki on keyboards – are seasoned and have long studied classic hard rock bands. They have brought that knowledge as a foundation to Re-Arise’s music. “Negative Reward” is a clear favourite with its epicness, musical drive and Dio Ken’s powerful vocals. “Reach the Other Side” kicks off slowly with a choir which serves as a terrific background canvas upon which Dio Ken’s power vocals get to paint a masterful soundscape. It feels like a privilege to listen to this song. The underlying music is terrific. It is understated. As a listener, it is good to hear fab musicians who know what they need to do to support the song. With such a powerful voice, the music has to be rock solid. It also needs to be subtle to avoid overshadowing the vocals. On this album, not least in the songs “Wasted Days” and “The Die Is Cast”, Re-Arise has found the perfect balance between instruments and vocals. “Revive” is one of the best and most important hard rock albums ever released by a Japanese band.

Re-Arise’s album “Revive” is out now.