It’s not every day you hear a full-length album with every song outshining the others, but Rock of Asia is a seasoned band that can deliver this with ease. The Japanese band doesn’t settle for anything less than a phenomenon, and their latest album, Tami,” is ideal evidence. Whatever your favorite flavor is, you’ll admire this album’s aesthetics and its mesmerizing fusion of Eastern and Western flairs.

The exceptional band “Rock of Aisa,” with its one-of-a-kind blended Folk and Rock sound with oriental and occidental elements, was established by the masterful artist Nikki Matsumoto. The distinct music project plays traditional Japanese music, offering a mix of Western instruments like the guitar and violin with Eastern instruments like the koto, shamisen, sho, and erhu, along with introspective lyricism and mind-blowing vocal performance.

Rock of Aisa consists of Nikki Matsumoto (on vocals, biwa, sanshin, guitars, bass, programming, and percussion), Yasuhisa Murase (on acoustic guitar), Kizen Ohyama (on shakuhachi), and Yuki Ishii (on violin). Their recent album, Tami,” is a 9-track album, with all of them being key tracks! It’s hard to pick a standout one; rather, they’ll create an overwhelming soundscape that will take you on an emotional rollercoaster.

The album opens with the title track, “TAMI,” which introduces us to the energizing performances waiting for us in the rest of the album. The fast tempo of the song, the oriental flair, and the ardent vocal line make adrenaline pump through one’s veins. Witnessing the band offering such a magnificent delivery right from the start keeps you anticipating how they’ll outdo themselves throughout the album.


Moving next to “Four-Legged Requiem,” a powerful track with compelling storytelling. The story is told through each element: the poetic lyrics, the compassionate singing, and the soaring instrumentals. Along with the Japanese instruments, we find the guitar riffs stand out, unleashing irresistible charm. Despite the saga-like vibe, the song closes off with a dreamy outro.

The third track, Sunbright,” brightens the atmosphere with its folkloric sonic soundscape. The lyric “You are my pride and joy” is resonating, especially with the way Nikki’s singing it. The entire theme is shiny, and the blend of Japanese instruments offers such a warm cultural feel.

The uptempo “Capital in Your Vein” has some satisfying and engaging violin playing, which, along with the enthusiastic vocals, delivers a legendary ambiance. It’s the kind of song that makes your blood warm and urges you to run as fast as you can so you can catch up with the speed of the components.

“Eastern Eyes” has powerful instrumentals and a vocal performance combo. The violin is singing loudly along with the vocals, and the percussion is adding extra flame. Although the overall vibe is fervent, there are soulful vocal harmonies that add a cold breeze to the fierce vibe.

The cover of the Rock duo Simon and Garfunkel’s “El Condor Pasa” is outstanding! They surely made it sound like their own original song. It ideally matches the album’s anthemic atmosphere. It’s chilling to hear this rich version.

“Keep Yourself Alive” will certainly make you feel alive more than ever. It’s an inspiring anthem that makes you embrace your existence through every elated element. The vocals offer a cheerful performance, and the instruments spread joy along with it.

While we are coming close to an end, Nikki takes away the joy he spread with the soul-stirring piece, “Stranger in the Homeland,” which kicks off with a dramatic intro to set you in a serious mood. It’s intense, melancholic, and realistic. Although it will make you heavy-hearted, you can’t help but love it! Or at least, this is what I felt. The violin and Nikki were sopping together, and their touching delivery will invite you to join.

There’s no better finale than a melodic and hopeful instrumental piece. “Tomorrow” is such an epic end to a remarkable album. It strikes a balance between delight and melancholy in the album’s tracks. The beauty of it is that each listener gets to write their own story along with the sentimental instruments.

To sum it up, this is an exceptional journey to the land of astonishing musicianship. You’ll get a dose of energy that you didn’t know how much your system needed until it invaded your veins. Be careful, though; once you experience the intoxicating effect, you’ll want to put the album on repeat so you can get more.