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Akira Kajiyama & Joe Lynn Turner - Fire Without Flame (CD)

Akira Kajiyama & Joe Lynn Turner
Fire Without Flame
by Grigoris Chronis at 23 September 2006, 1:24 PM

Japanese guitar heroes? This is not a joke, you know. For some, the names of Kuni, Akira Takasaki and Tak Matsumoto or bands like Anthem, Bow Wow and Tsunami should make your head shake with indulgence. Some of them influenced by the (once) hard rockin' tunes of Gary Moore, others 'persuaded' by the deeds of Michael Schenker and the rest devoted to the proposal of Ritchie Blackmore. Akira Kajiyama surely fits in category #3. Hence, the collaboration in this album.
Akira Kajiyama raised from the ashes of Japanese metallers Precious. A rather low profile guitarist, 'driven' by his splendid 'neoclassical' technique he decided to purchase a solo/session career. Working with ex-Anthem vocalist Yukio Morikawa, a tribute album to Rainbow - entitled Niji Densetsu (Legend Of Rainbow) -   was released in 1998. A guest appearance was made by long-running chief frontman Joe Lynn Turner in this one; the collaboration had begun.
Thus, Kajiyama played on Turner's Under Cover 2 (1999) solo album, 2000's Holy Man (also co-writing most of the songs) and fully wrote the ex-Deep Purple/Rainbow/Y.J.Malmsteen singer's Slam (2002) while - in addition - handling the guitars in the Japanese tour 'leg' for this album. On top of this, Kajiyama performed as the live guitarist on the Hughes Turner Project Japanese tour, making a guest appearance in two songs off the project's debut album in prior. Last - but not least - during Turner's latest The Usual Suspects Japanese dates list, both artists performed an acoustic gig in full success. So, it is anything but weird to see both cooperating for the first time in their own project. Fire Without A Flame is the 'piece' and it's common sense that…
…what someone will hear in this album is a Turner-fronted Rainbow 'clone'. Kajiyama is based - both in terms of songwriting and technique - 100% on Ritchie Blackmore. Neoclassical themes, similar soloing, alike harmonies, the appropriate 'backing' keyboards and to or three typical rhythm section tempos. He surely delivers a nice performance, while Turner does nothing but what he's destined to do in his nearly-thirty-year career. Passionate singing, melodic 'switchovers' in his voice, love-related lyrical themes and the everlasting ability to make you sing along. Unfortunately, the whole track listing is 'guilty' of strongly bringing various Rainbow/Deep Purple/Turner songs to mind e.g. Spotlight Kid, Death Alley Driver, Stone Cold or Fortuneteller. In a totally 'retro' production…
…Fire Without A Flame falls short to my expectations exclusively due to the total lack of originality. Apart from this fact, this release is essential for lovers of the Ritchie Blackmore family tree. If you don't mind…

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
One Day Away
Fire Without Flame
Survival
Heart Against Heart
End Of The Line
Forever Changed
Bad Feeling
Looking For Trouble
Down And Dirty
Licence To Kill
Slow Burn
Lineup:
Joe Lynn Turner - Vocals
Akira Kajiyama - All Instruments
Record Label: AOR Heaven
     


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