Yes, the stalwarts of NWOBHM are back and ready to show why they should have been up there with those other bands that moved to the arenas and then became somewhat diluted. Tokyo Blade have a new album with a cover of a clenched fist, chains wrapped around the wrist and a subtle barcode tattoo: the visualisation matches the mood, the music and the title… Dark Revolution. The classic line up of Alan Marsh, Andy Boulton, Andy Wrighton, John Wiggins and Steve Pierce are all present and correct.
If you need proof that these guys are still on form and faithful to the cause, then one listen to opener ‘Story Of A Nobody’ will dispel any doubts and I’m delighted to report, they manage to infuse the energy they’re rightly noted for when playing live, into the whole album. If you want suitable titles for heavy rock, they’re here too… ’See You In Hell’, ‘Voices Of The Damned’ and ‘Not Lay Down And Die’ provide the darkness but the music is melodic while fiery and all three have the riffs, vocals and solos to stand up to then and now. My favourite among many has to be ‘Perfect Enemy’ as it has a depth and quality that evokes everything that is good about melodic NWOBHM and adds an extra frisson with its complex signatures.
There will be some that think this is covering or reinventing old ground, but if you actually listen, the Blades have taken their roots and put a more modern edge to the melodies and production. If you like rock of any variant then this deserves a spin – great stuff.
Tokyo Blade Dark Revolution is out now via Dissonance Productions.