About JAM Project and “Tokyo Dive”
JAM Project fans! Their long-awaited 6th studio album, “Tokyo Dive”, has been released!. For those who are not familiar with this band, JAM Project (Japan Animationsong Makers) is a japanese band that has made tons of anisongs, mostly for action anime series. They did the OP for One Punch Man, "THE HERO!", and the OP and ED for the GARO series including GARO: Vanishing Line which is being aired this fall.
The band was formed in 2000, and currently is composed by five vocal artists who are veterans in the anime and tokusatsu music industry; they are: Hironobu Kageyama, Masaaki Endoh, Hiroshi Kitadani, Masami Okui, and Yoshiki Fukuyama. In the middle of this year, JAM Project locked themselves up in the recording studio and came out of the dark with a 13-track CD filled with amazing tunes. We got our hands on the CD before its official release in order to analyze it and give you an exclusive of what can you expect out of it. Let’s dive into it!
On the Outside
The first thing you notice when you pick up the album is an explosion of neon lights on the cover and the five members wearing full body leather black suits with fierce eyes staring directly at you. Below them the album title, “Tokyo Dive”, is written in holographic letters using the same colors of the background. The vibe of the cover background image is that of an industrial digital city that moves with the speed of neon flashes. Somewhere hidden in the background image you can also see the band’s name, JAM Project.
When we flip it over, is the same background image of the cover but in shocking pink and black, and there are no humans, just the name of the 13 tracks and the JAM Project Logo at the bottom. Overall, this cover is an eye-catching piece of art that would stand out from a row of other CDs at the record store.
On the Inside
When we open up the album, there is a slip-cover box and inside you can see the plastic CD case with a 22 page photo book that displays each member separately alongside the lyrics they each wrote. The picture in the middle of the book shows the 5 members standing on a rooftop staring at the Tokyo skyline at night. The back cover of the booklet is again, the same cover image, but this time with the emblematic Tokyo Tower rising up in the back and amid the digital streams.
This 13-track CD, features the credits in English, which makes it easy for fans overseas to see who was involved in the making of this album. Also, it includes an announcement page with the upcoming tour dates in Japan. Additionally, this CD includes a pretty obi strip in shiny pink and white lettering giving off the album information, the barcode and the price. The entire package is a simple and great reminder that JAM Project’s music is vibrant and free-spirited, and that we will always be welcome to join their party.
“Tokyo Dive” Album Review
With this latest album, JAM Project offers us better songwriting, more brooding atmospherics, and groovy but dark spirituality. As with many veteran acts, they’ve chosen an evolution rather than a revolution of their sonic palate, which works perfectly well for their growing audience.
The album opens with ‘Spinning Out of Control,’ a hard-edged, but unpretentious, 2 minute intro track with melodic vocalizations spread out throughout. The real sonic journey begins with the track ‘TOKYO DIVE’ which is packed with heavy synth effects, catchy riffs, and powered by the groove of the five members singing at the same time saying “come on and raise your hands.” This song could be a dance track, especially the last few minutes of it.
This album has plenty of tasty guitar solos, like ‘The Fangs of Apocalypse’ and ‘BAD CITY We’ll be Alright!’ Both tracks combine all the musical elements and thematic motifs JAM Project are known for and serve as good indicators of what you’re getting into with this album. ‘EMG’ which is the opening song for GARO: Vanishing Line, has a modern rock sensibility with a memorable chorus and catchy riffs, but enough heaviness to be classified as hard rock with intense screaming and a spacy breakdown with gothic keyboard melodies.
‘First Love’ starts off with an acoustic guitar intro. This is a slow song with English lyrics and it progressively gets more intense and epic. The voices of the 5 members harmonize at the end above the guitar solo. Another song using an acoustic guitar is ‘I Kill ーイキルー’ in which the leading melody comes from the piano.
Headbangers, rest easy. Just because this is a diverse and refined record that doesn’t mean JAM Project has neglected the heavier elements of their sound. ‘Alexandria’ and its dark atmospheric intro with its spectral vocal snippets and strings, builds up a tension filled with all riffs topped off with a euphoric guitar solos that will give you goosebumps. There are some truly nice grooves on this album that are thicker and funkier than anything they’ve executed in the past. The best example of that on this album would be ‘sweet SWEET home’ which is an excellent showcase of the band’s songwriting abilities.
The record concludes with ‘Everything’ in which the vocals here are arguably the most memorable on the album. There was a little more airiness in the vocals and maybe more cheerfulness as well. This album is a compelling listen for all of the above reasons, and if you’re at all into urgent, vital rock then Tokyo Dive should immediately be added to your collection.
- Format: CD
- Release Date: October 18, 2017
- Label: Lantis
- Price: ￥3,000
- Favorite Tracks: Alexandria
- Official Website: http://jamjamsite.com/