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Tokyo Blade - 'Thousand Men Strong' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/f0/f1/ce/1261_tokyobladethousandmenstrong_1305658017.jpeg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     May 17, 2011    
 
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Fans of NWOBHM will be in headbangin' heaven, or is that hell?

NWOBHM pioneers Tokyo Blade had been off the radar for about a decade before they released 'Live In Germany' in 2009 and now two years on sees them release their first studio album since 1995's 'Burning Down Paradise'. It's good timing as NWOBHM has been undergoing a renaissance over the last couple of years and this record is a triumphant return to form and apparent heir to their classic early records 'Tokyo Blade' and 'Night Of The Blade'. The record sees the introduction of ex-Domain singer Nicolaj Ruhnow. The classically trained baritone has the requisite chops and necessary menace and wails as evidenced on 'Condemned To The Fire' and 'The Ambush' to be a convincing NWOBHM frontman. He also takes care of the lyrics and vocal arrangements, but the real stars of this record are the four members from their classic line up; Andy Boultin fires off a series of stonking riffs and varied solos, abetted by the second axe man John Wiggins, while the rhythm section of Andy Wrighten and Steve Pierce drive the beat hard, fast, slow and varied. 

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What Tokyo Blade do so well, which Power Metal bands and the modern NWOBHM revivalists should take note of, is they know when to take their foot off the gas. Off course, I'm not talking ballads but mid sections that slow the beast down, tame it, before slowly and surely building the pace up again. It's a technique that can't fail to spike the adrenaline levels of the listener such as on 'Killing Rays'. While the record's opener 'Black Abyss' left me feeling underwhelmed on first listen but it's grown on me with subsequent listens, much better is the pulsating title track and the re-recording of their classic track 'Night Of The Blade' that bristle with intent thanks to Chris Tsangarides's thumping production sound.

Boultin has been quoted as saying this record is, "No Bullshit, just Metal" and he's not wrong. Tokyo Blade fans can be safe in the knowledge that the band are still razor sharp, doing their legacy proud and fans of NWOBHM in general will be in headbangin' heaven, or is that hell?

Duncan Jamieson

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