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Aska - Nine Tongues (Reissue)

Aska
Nine Tongues (Reissue)
by Michael "MettleAngel" Francisco at 29 April 2013, 2:23 PM

Rising from the ashes of war, there is no question that the immortal avengers ASKA are standing strong and breaking free, against the odds. I first heard these absolute power Metal Texans on an IRON MAIDEN Tribute called “Children Of The Damned”. The Dallas vigilantes were covering “Flight Of Icarus”. This was a double disc which also featured original material by the various bands. ASKA included the song “The Stalker” which instantly impressed me.

I did not experience their mettle tested talent again until I read a review of the re-issue of “Avenger” on Steelheart Records. I instantly set out to purchase this album, and once I did, I was hooked. I totally dug their follow-up “Absolute Power” too. Once I witnessed them on “Warriors Of Metal II & III”, and I was given the wonderful opportunity to get to know George Call and his blood brothers, I became a major supporter of the band. In fact, they even gave me a copy of their ultra-rare, self-titled debut on CD. How cool is that!

I so yearn for their new album to be delivered, as it has already been six long stiff years. How long must we pine, one can only dream. When I interviewed Call a few years ago, he too was excited about its forthcoming release. Since then he has been a vocalist for the bands of BANSHEE and OMEN, as well as CLOVEN HOOF. God willing, at least Pure Steel has heeded the message and chosen to re-issue some of their back catalogue on vinyl, and other formats.

This brings us to this album. When I first secured a copy of the original, I paid a heavy price, but I was expecting more of the brilliance that is ever present on their last two masterpieces. Sadly, this third album is a bit more varied and totally uneven. If you are not familiar with them, please do not let this be your springboard! That would be a major mistake!

My digital promo re-issue sounds better than the original, but the track listing is mixed up for some odd reason. Granted there are some well-played, stand-out tracks present like the fan favorite “Blood Of The Wolf”. When they performed this hard biting tooth and nail slice of death at “WOM III” after a ragin' storm, my dog Maggie and another Metal dog called Kai began to howl incessantly, after Call's coaxing. Check it out at YouTube!

The George Call penned classic “Killashandra” is another killer anthem. Unfortunately, there are some sleazier tracks which are more “Hair Metal” based, and even if thin tongue is in cheek, tracks like the lustful “Little Sister” are totally out of place. Although, I do enjoy the use of the Spanish to emphasize that these zoned out weary poets do not know much about love.

The ANNIHILATOResque invasion of the surreal, killer “Captain Crunch” has a bit of humor and heaviness to it, and should not be confused with the silly song by the same name which M.O.D. wrote. No need to milk this mode any further, as the closing track “The Dream” has it AOR appeal, but with its conclusion, there is a two minute brief pause before we are mistreated to an annoying and inebriated drunken diatribe of the horny boys night out, hoping to score. Did they accidentally leave the recorder on, or is this crass and tasteless portrayal of the fucked-up misfits intentional?  If this foul verbal conflagration happened in the studio, then the totally wasted frat boy prattle and incoherent psychobabble should have been omitted from the final release. I had so hoped the re-issue would have removed this nonsense and provided a bonus track of some sort, or some live material. It is this test of leprosy, which tightens the tourniquet of intolerance, and has me not praising this album as highly. At least a caustic cut like “Question” sets the historical precedent for future tracks like “Imperial Rome” or “Legion”. In fact even if the bad boys are spreading the disease like classic Y&T or APRIL WINE, then “Leprosy” only mildly infects. However, it does prepare us for what has become one of my favourite songs by ASKA, namely “Vowbreaker”.

George is an excellent vocalist and musician, and a real stand-up guy. I do not view him as being a clown of thorns with too many vices. Damn if he does not seem to have issues with women though; unless of course, the songs are purely fiction, as would appear to be the case with “Liquid Courage”. This POISONesque poseur song is totally unnecessary, and not to be confused with what VIO-LENCE created. Honestly, I do not consider him or any other member to be a womanizer or a stalker. Maybe they are imitating ANVIL. I never did meet any other member from this line-up save George and Keith. Did they feel these types of weaker songs were necessary to sell records? Clearly not! I wonder if the drummer Damon is George's brother? The same line-up appears in tact on the first three releases.

As far as I am concerned, ASKA are one of my favorite U.S. Traditional Metal acts, and I sincerely suggest getting to know them, now. Here is hoping when these Metal warriors return with new material that it is well worth the wait!

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. The Stalker
2. Leprosy
3. Question
4. Little Sister
5. Blood of the Wolf
6. Captain Crunch
7. Killashandra
8. Liquid Courage
9. Nightmare
10. The Dream
Lineup:
George Call – Vocals, Guitars
Daren Knapp – Guitars, Backing Vocals
Keith Knight – Bass, Backing Vocals
Damon Call – Drums
Record Label: Pure Steel Records
     


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