TOKYO BLADE: Knights Of The Blade: 4 Disc Box Set

tokyo-blade-box

Tokyo Blade originally formed in 1982, releasing their self-titled debut in 1983. They formed around guitarist Andy Boulton, he was joined on their debut by Alan Marsh on lead vocals, John Wiggins on guitar, Andy Robbins on bass and Steve Pierce on drums, making a significant impact on the burgeoning NWOBHM scene that had been popularized by Iron Maiden, Saxon, Tygers Of Pan Tang and Def Leppard, as well as finding support in the pages of Kerrang! magazine. This release consists of a four Disc box set of their first three albums, many rare EPs, singles and non-album cuts from the early 1980s, including tracks from “The Cave Sessions”, “Undercover Honeymoon” 12”, “Midnight Rendezvous” EP and “Madame Guillotine” EP. Featuring lengthy and detailed liner notes from note NWOBHM and Tokyo Blade expert John Tucker

Tokyo Blade issued their debut recording in 1983, which was self-titled in the United Kingdom, and titled Midnight Rendezvous everywhere else. The album is classic metal with high-pitched vocals that aren’t too far into the stratosphere like some bands, they are a nice mix of highs and mid-level, the guitar rips throughout the album, the drumming is powerful, and the bass is heavy. The band really sounds like they were having a great time n the studio making this album, with youthful exuberance just dripping from the songs. The songs are catchy and should have been playing out of everyone’s speakers loud. I really liked “Powergame,” “Break The Chains, ” Killer City,” “Liar,” and “Sunrise In Tokyo.” For a first album, you don’t get much better than this.

The Night Of The Blade album arrived a year later, Andy Wrighton having replaced Robbins while Marsh had also left the band. The band was trying to find a new singer for their tour and got lucky with what was supposed to be the temporary throat of Vicki James Wright, but they decided to keep him as singer for the next album. His vocals were a bit more commercial sounding, but the songs were still hard and heavy. Again, the band played tight and really matured since their first album. Songs “Someone To Love,” “Night Of The Blade,” the killer “Rock Me To The Limit,” “Love Struck,” and the more commercial sounding “Lightning Strikes (Straight Through the Heart),” stand out after all of these years.

Blackhearts & Jaded Spades retains the power and singer from the previous album and sounds a bit more polished, but not wimpy. You could hear the band moving towards the huge American market with the added keyboards and more melody than on previous albums. Who can blame them? The market in America was something that pretty much every band wanted to break in and tour and be played on MTV during this period. The hard and heavy stuff was more on underground radio and bands knew where the money was; playing more melodic, adding a touch of keyboards and making the band more in tune with the big bands at the time like Iron Maiden, and Motley Crue. “Dirty Faced Angels,” “Make It Through The Night,” “Always,” are a trio of killer songs, “Loving You Is An Easy Thing To Do” is a blues based track that has a fantastic groove and should have been huge on the radio, “Undercover Honeymoon” gets things back a little heavier, then you get the power ballad “You Are The Heart,” which I could see being thrown in the mix at a high school dance back then, “Blackhearts And Jaded Spades,” “Tough Guys Tumble” get the hard rocking going again, until you come to another power ballad, “Dancing In Blue Moonlight,” which now starts to be a little much, and happily, they end the album with two blistering songs “Playroom Of Poison Dreams,” and “Monkeys Blood.” Not perfect, but still a great album that has more than enough metal to make you happy.

The fourth CD is a nineteen track collection of the band’s singles and EPs.  All of these songs were previously issued on the band’s various reissues, and it’s great to have them all together on a separate disc. This ably illustrates the musical evolution Tokyo Blade underwent from the start of the career, until their third album. Going from a harder sounding band to a more slick and commercial sound, while still retaining the great songs and playing that made you pick up the first album.

With the great liner notes, replica album sleeves and the fantastic music on the four discs, you really can’t go wrong with this purchase. The band definitely is on fire on these albums and even though they still are putting out albums now, the young, hard-edged sound of their hunger is a treasure to behold.

https://www.facebook.com/TokyoBladeOfficialFanPage/

http://www.tokyoblade.com/

https://www.cherryred.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/CherryRedRecords/

DANIEL LIONEYE: Vol III

 

Daniel Lioneye was formed in 2001 and originally consisted of HIM members Ville Valo on drums, Mige on bass and Linde on guitar and vocals. They released one album that year called The King Of Rock ‘n’ Roll, which was only released in Finland and Germany. The title track ended up being the theme song for Bam Margera’s TV show, “Viva La Bam.” In 2008, Linde felt the need to do another Daniel Lioneye album and wanted it to be completely different from the last, and put out VOL II. After 8 years Daniel Lioneye is now back with a third album Vol. III.

The album is a mix of heavy metal, black metal and progressive rock that works perfectly together. With all of these different styles on here, there is a song for everyone and the beauty of it is that the music flows so well between the styles of music. No style takes over, no style swamps the senses, it just seems to be a collection of great songs that they came up with. The playing is impeccable, tight, emotional and the songs are catchy, not in a pop music way, but they latch onto you, get stuck in your ears and become a part of you. The guitar playing has got to be heard with riffs coming at you at every turn and being some of the slickest playing I’ve heard in a long time. The entire band sounds like they are playing their hearts out and really tried to give the listener something different from past albums, and they’ve really accomplished that task with the intricate playing and arrangements on the album. They also have a new version of VOL II’s “Neolithic Way” that takes the song into a different place with the new arrangement.

This album is balanced between the cleaner, and harmonic and the crazed music that you are used to from this band and the production is more rounded out, with depth that adds to the experience. An album that has this much going for it shouldn’t just be considered a side project, it should be thought of as a full-fledged band that can stand shoulder to shoulder with any band.

https://www.facebook.com/daniellioneye/

https://www.facebook.com/theendrecords/

http://theendrecords.com/

HELIX: Long Way To Heaven

Long Way to Heaven is the fifth studio album by Canadian heavy metal band Helix. This album was their third for Capitol Records, and the first single was “Deep Cuts The Knife.” The song received heavy airplay in the U.S., and in Canada it was added to heavy video play on Much Music. The second single released from the album was “The Kids Are All Shakin’,”a song inspired by a fan letter from Poland. This is the remastered re-release from Culture Factory.

Helix came out with this album and there were bigger expectations from the band after the success of the previous Walkin’ The Razor’s Edge (featuring the hit “Rock You”). The band was playing harder and this time they tried to fit in with the more commercially accepted metal bands with a ballad, “Deep Cuts The Knife,” that never really grabbed me then and still doesn’t do it for me. The good thing is that they had a lot of kick-ass songs on here to more than make up for that bump. The songs that I hit replay are; “Don’t Touch The Merchandise.” “The Kids Are All Shakin’,” “Ride The Rocket,” and “House On Fire.” Don’t think the other songs aren’t good, they are, but these are the ones I come back to a little more often. The album is another tightly played collection that now has the clean sound from Culture Factory and their crisp sounding remaster.

The band was riding a high and this is another rockin’ album for your collection and will still get your juices pumping after all these years. Grab a copy and relive your youth with the album turned up and a beer or three in you.

https://www.facebook.com/brian.vollmer.39

http://planethelix.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Culture-Factory-USA-161614307253980/

http://culturefactoryusa.com/

HELIX: No Rest For The Wicked

No Rest For The Wicked is Canadian heavy metal band, Helix’s third studio album, and was also their major label debut on Capitol Records. Released in 1983, it features two of the band’s biggest singles, “Heavy Metal Love” and “Never Want To Lose You.” This is the newly remastered version from Culture Factory that makes it look like the original vinyl release and greatly improves the sound.

With this album, the band went from playing more blues based hard rock, to toughening up their image and getting into leather and playing harder edged music and becoming a big time metal band with videos getting heavy rotation on Much Music, and tons of radio play. The album is tight with not one note wasted, and still as catchy as an old nickel whore with syphilis. Song after song will get you playing the air guitar and singing along to the chorus, and wishing metal was this much fun today. Of course you get the two big singles; “Heavy Metal Love” and “Never Want To Lose You,” but the album could have had more singles like “Let’s All Do It Tonight,” “No Rest for the Wicked,” and “Ain’t No High Like Rock ‘n Roll.” The band plays with conviction and he good vibes jump off the album and get burned into your ears. This is the kind of album that you would take with you on a car ride and roll the windows down, and crank it up. The remastering job has cleaned up the tracks and given them a clarity that helps bring out the raw talent and emotion that is laid down here.

An album that stands up today as good as it did over thirty years ago and makes me yearn for the days when you could turn on the radio and hear music like this coming out fresh. I’m going to take this one for a spin in the car and see if I can forget what year it is.

https://www.facebook.com/brian.vollmer.39

http://planethelix.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Culture-Factory-USA-161614307253980/

http://culturefactoryusa.com/

ACID: Acid / Maniac / Engine Beast

 

Acid were a female-fronted, cult heavy metal quintet from the early ’80s and based in Bruges, Belgium. Taking their cue from the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal movement, they featured lead singer Kate De Lombaert, Demon on lead guitar, Dizzy Lizzy on rhythm guitar, T-Bone on bass and Anvill on drums. After releasing their debut single for the legendary HM label Roadrunner in 1981, Acid recorded three slabs of pure, unadulterated heavy metal for their own Giant Records between 1982 and 1985. These albums have been reissued with band approval, their full involvement, and featuring liner notes from Acid expert and Classic Rock/Metal Hammer writer Malcolm Dome.

Acid – Acid

It hits you to the core, it touches almost every single feeling you have. Good clear lyrics, it’s right on cue with the music, with strong, multi-dimensional levels to the vocals. The vocals are emotional, but not in a bad way, but the raw emotion, the raw feelings to music, is pure rock. The album has a really fast paced tempo, but not to the point of being too fast paced for the vocals. It’s powerful, Kate is fearless, not so much in your face, but you can tell she isn’t messing about. The guitars and bass are not competing with each other; they compliment the lead, the rhythm guitar and the bass. You can hear all three and without one or the other, the feel or the sound wouldn’t be the same. Kate brings a sense of sexiness to the music, the dirty, rough, let’s roll about anywhere and do it kind, with no strings attached. This is newly released with some bonus tracks, such as “Hell On Wheels” which is really good, and really powerful. It’s a “don’t give a damn” kind of song that is pure attitude, pure kick ass. “Hooked On Metal” which is also a powerful, attitude filled song, and “Five Days Hell,” which is a demo that I think would have been good as a single, and “Women At Last” which would be good as a single as well. This album is long overdue as a re-release, it features a strong female lead, it’s hard-hitting, fast paced, multi-layered, and not flat or dull at all. Kate oozes sex appeal, an “I do as I want, don’t give a damn” attitude which fits her style and the bands. Each track keeps getting better and better, there isn’t anything negative about this album except it’s too short.  Even though this is a female lead band, this album doesn’t scream man hater, or I don’t need one, it doesn’t even scream it’s a feminist album, and it’s not overly masculine either. It’s a good match up with being masculine and pleasing to both the ones who like hard, ultra masculine bands and for the girls who “don’t need men.” It’s friendly to all that appreciates powerful, raw emotional sexy music. Kate is very confidante and she uses her sex appeal to her full advantage, it sounds like the band is taking their cues from Kate’s voice instead of the other way around.

Acid – Maniac

This album seems more constrained, more restricted, and more disciplined than the self-titled album was. The first album was more fluid, more like they were cutting their teeth with it; it was rebellious, more energetic, and wilder than this one. This album was energetic, but not as high as the other one, and this one isn’t about proving themselves to either us or to the band, it’s more about “let’s see what else we can do.” It was a good mix of vocals and music, with the lyrics being very good and clear. The vocals are emotional, nice and strong and it was restrained, but it helps with the overall feel and sound to it. The album wasn’t all over the place and neither was the music, everything was nice and tight, but it wasn’t flat, it just showed that Kate and the band knows control and knows more than one style. It shows that they aren’t one dimensional, but they have a complicated sound to them which is refreshing from the other bands who doesn’t know anything but to copy and paste the same sound to different lyrics.  Acid is different, it’s a fun album, and it’s an album with attitude. The way they did the sound in editing just gives it a nice echo effect which fits, and it just emphasis the sound of Kate’s voice in a unique way. The guitars are tight and controlled, not all over the place, not as flashy, but they do have their moments when it’s called for to make a statement. This album features three bonus tracks; “Drop Dead,” “The Day You Die,” and “Exterminator,” which is really fun and it has spoken word at the start that gives you a sense of anticipation of what the song will be like.

Acid – Engine Beast

This album is fearless, constrained, which means they have control over their music, Kate with her vocals, and Demon and Dizzy are the keys to the overall sound to the album, they can do scales like pro, they have lots of power and it seems that they are setting the pace. It’s a powerful album with lots of attitude. The first album was their cutting teeth one, the one before this one was where they knew their style, they knew how to show control and play around with other sounds, and became more confident and more comfortable in their shows, and this one is showing just what they figured out, that they can be sexy, confident, powerful, with an in your face, bad ass attitude while having fun and not taking themselves to serious. There are sixteen tracks this time, and they are all good, and all fun. “Hooked On Metal” appears twice on this album and “Hell On Wheels” appeared twice on the self-titled album. Track four is called “Big Ben” and it’s so good, Demon and Dizzy actually do chimes like clocks, and their scales are spot on, the tempo is great, the instrumental parts don’t over shadow Kate, nor does she overshadow them, it’s all balanced. The pace is fast, but not too fast to the point where Kate can’t keep up. Anvill does a really good job keeping everybody in line with the beat. The guitars, bass and drums are nicely blended, you can tell what everything is, but it’s so nice to hear a cohesive and clean piece of music. I feel like this album is the end result of years of practice, years of trial and error, years of getting it just right and by the sound of it, they have done it.

Yes, I know these are re-released albums but they sound so fresh, so good, they sound like they are being released for the first time.

Review by Amy East

ALPHA TIGER: iDentity: CD

Alpha Tiger - iDentity

ALPHA TIGER are a power metal quintet that hails from Germany and formed back in 2007 under the name SATIN BLACK, and then turned into ALPHA TIGER. They have already released a few albums before this and this sees them hitting the ground running.

After a short instrumental intro, the album starts full speed ahead with “Lady Liberty,” a powerful song with heavy guitars and a great hook, plus the outstanding vocals from singer Stephan Dietrich who hits highs that have to be heard to be believed. There is even a power ballad on here, “Closer Than Yesterday” which features beautiful keyboard playing and great vocals. One thing that really stands out is the skill the band shows on this album throughout. Peter Langforth and Alexander Backasch are amazing on guitar with great solos, David Schleif’s skill on the drums, Dirk Frei keeps the album solid with his mind-blowing bass, and of course Stephan Dietrich’s vocals on the album are amazing, with his sky-high vocal range. Other songs that really stood out were “We Won’t Take it Anymore,” “Identity,” “We Won’t Take it Anymore”, “Identity” (with a slightly melancholic chorus that really works to great effect), “Revolution in Progress” and “Scripted Reality,” but they all are really good.

This is the sound of a band that hungers for more, one that really loves what they are doing and is giving their all to their fans. They are looking for you to become a fan, and really, that should be easy with just one listen to the album.

https://www.facebook.com/AlphaTigerBand

http://www.alphatiger.de/

https://www.facebook.com/spvhannover

http://www.spv.de/

TANKARD: R.I.B.: CD

Tankard is a thrash metal band from Frankfurt Germany, founded in 1982.  Along with the bands Kreator, Destruction and Sodom, Tankard is often considered one of the “The Big Teutonic Four” of Teutonic thrash metal. They released their first record in 1986 and continue to write and record in the same vein: fast metal songs in honour of alcohol. Now they’ve released their sixteenth album and they show no sign of slowing down.

The new album continues with songs about drinking, and general goofiness…what more did you expect from them? R.I.B. stands for Rest In Beer, and of course a German band should be singing about beer. Song after song of thrash played with skill and aggression, just they way it should, no overlong wank fests, hear that Metallica, just good old party time and anger mixed together. The riffs are glorious, the solos are tight, the bass is heavy the drums pummel and the gruff vocals are perfectly suited for the devastation here. The cool thing is that there are a lot of hooks on this album as well as some grooves that you wouldn’t think could be so effectively mixed into the songs. Of course you can bang your head, stage dive, or mosh to this, but the grooves are a nice treat. I really liked “No One Hit Wonder,” “War Cry,” R.I.B. (Rest In Beer),” “Enemy Of Order,” and “Clockwise To Deadline.” The production is tight and it lets the band truly shine on this release.

After all these years Tankard shows no sign of giving up or slowing down and being a sad shadow of themselves. You know what you are getting and with so many bands trying new things out on their fans, it’s great to hear a band doing what they do and doing it well.

https://www.facebook.com/tankardofficial

http://www.tankard.info/start.html

https://www.facebook.com/Metalville

http://www.metalville.de/