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Atsushi Yokozeki Project - Raid

Atsushi Yokozeki Project
by Grigoris Chronis at 22 September 2010, 7:09 PM

Another shining diamond from the past, the 1993 effort by Japanese six-string maestro Atsushi Yokozeki saw limited success (if any) in a period when melodic Hard Rock was really going down…The guitarist’s Far East fame plus the dozen of guests helping him out in this ambitious effort did not save the day and “Raid” did just make it to be a beloved album in the hands – or minds – of core guitar-driven melodic Rock fans.

This is not the only album by this Japanese virtuoso. Atsushi – also a member of melodic Rock/Metal bands like THE BRONX, LANCE OF THRILL and MADAM REY in Japan in the past – had his own releases stamped with a couple of EP collections in the second part of the 80s plus four full-lengths (including “Raid”) in the years to follow (a 2009 compilation sums up this wizard’s portfolio, as far as I’m concerned).

So, what’s special with the “Raid” album in particular? Have not listened to his previous efforts (all of his CDs are really hard to get, I’m afraid) but in “Raid” the participation of so many big names from the American/worldwide Hard Rock scene denote Atsushi aimed at some universal commercial recognition. This, if you ask me, was really a hard task to accomplish by default since the tracklist consisted of ten tracks equally divided into two categories: the instrumental and ‘normal’ ones. I cannot recall seeing such a sharp ration in a Rock/Metal release, to be honest. Hence, the following ‘severance’…

‘Normal’ songs: all of them a re killers, with “More Than Enough” and “Heartbreak” being stand-out killers. The first one is an emotional crawling tempo ballad with - then HURRICANE, now FOREIGNER – frontman Kelly Hansen delivering some breathtaking performance while the other is a straightforward hard rockin’ hurricane with deceased Ray Gillen (BLACK SABBATH, BADLANDS, BLUE MURDER) ‘exhibiting’ his phenomenal voice to the hard rockers’ delight. The rest of this first (not in tracklist order) set is in the emotional Hard Rock vein with great singing by guests such as David Glenn Eisley (GIUFFRIA, solo) and Cherie Currie (RUNAWAYS) and solid musicianship by Atsushi and a set of notable musicians (see lineup below).

Instrumental songs: you’ll confirm the Japanese guitarist’s wizardry here. Atsushi pulls a stunt with his licks and leads, based on both the neoclassical formulas nut also approaching the ‘arena Rock’ patterns of America. Names like Richie Blackmore, Uli Jon Roth, Eddie Van Halen, Neal Schon and Joe Satriani are names of guitarists popping up while listening to these vocal-less numbers.

Backed by a superb production/mix, “Raid” is the kind of album making you proud for loving Hard rock music. Since the original release is long gone out of print and a collector’s item by now, this re-release surely is good news (even if a richer booklet or some bonus track would also be welcome). Nonetheless, there are many great songs to behold on here and you should certainly keep an eye on this album for a now or near future purchase.

P.S.: KUNI (mainly) and TMG (partially) are also names in reference, for those who know.

4 Star Rating

  1. Tears Of Sphinx
  2. More Than Enough
  3. Straight From The Heart
  4. Camel
  5. All The Way To Heaven
  6. Silence, Storm And Sunrise
  7. A Little Bit More
  8. Heartbreak
  9. Mama Again
  10. Raid
Kelly Hansen, David Glenn Eisley, Cherie Currie, Ray Gillen - Vocals
Atsushi Yokozeki - Guitars
Brad Gillis, Jake E. Lee, Graig Goldy - Solo Guitar
Tim Bogert, Rudy Sarzo, Jeff Pilson, Chuck Wright, Greg Chaisson - Bass
Carmine Appice, Frankie Banali, James Kottak, Bobby Blotzer, Ken Mary - Drums
Record Label: Krescendo Records


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Edited 02 February 2023

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