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Maverick - Natural Born Steel

Maverick
Natural Born Steel
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 16 August 2012, 8:38 PM

I have always wanted to find that Japanese Metal band that would try a bit more to be original than others. Yet, I haven’t been able to find that band just yet. Maybe in the far future? I can’t really answer that. Even the Japanese 80s Metal gods, LOUDNESS, took out more from their influences and wrapped it up into a nice music pile. Even before I began listening to “Natural Born Steel”, the second album in seven years by the MAVERICK band, I knew that it would be probably influenced by the 80s Euro Metal scene. And yes, I was right from top to bottom. Possibly the first clue given to me was that the album was partially produced by Piet Sielck, the leader, vocalist / guitarist and producer of IRON SAVIOR. Maybe that is probably why the band’s sound was utterly familiar. Second was the fact that the band’s music, shifting between Heavy and Power Metal, took turns into older ACCEPT and HELLOWEEN influences along with various of similarities to acts such as IRON SAVIOR, VANIZE and PARAGON.

In general, MAVERICK has great dynamics. Though their music isn’t something to brag about out loud as there are countless of bands following the same pattern, they were able to come up with some fine illustrations that could be described as “to be” classics. Along with their ACCEPT influences, MAVERICK formulated two great metallic anthems in the image of “Mighty Pride” and “Roaring Thunder”, which are filled with plenty of German type heaviness and attitude along with the steeliness the band wished to deliver to the listener. I liked the crispiness and crunchiness of their resonance, though it isn’t even close to the same high quality of the numerous IRON SAVIOR oriented productions. “Ain’t Gonna Fall No More” and “Natural Born Steel” seemed like typical, probably a little bit more, Euro Heavy / Power Metal songs in the vein of the 80s but with strong lead guitar technique. With no disrespect, but I think that these songs would have been delivered better if MAVERICK would have recruited a European / Australian or American singer. Sometimes it was really hard to get used to the singing of their vocalist / guitarist Katsuhiko Hotta. He has a good voice in overall but his diction is not so appealing and even dreadful at times. I believe that you would be able to notice what I have just written after listening to the songs “The God Inside” and “IronForce” displaying vocal guest appearances of Jonas Hansson (SILVER MOUNTAIN) and Kai Hansen (GAMMA RAY, ex-HELLOWEEN). Although the duo songs are in the spirit of nearly everything that comes out of the Euro Power scene, it is easy to be captivated by the singing styles of the two veteran singers. “Sing To Say Goodbye” had me remembering early HELLOWEEN songs with Michael Kiske at the helm, maybe the “Pink Bubbles Go Ape” style. There is a sense of Hard Rock within the riffing and pretty cool Bluesy beats unlike the double bass drum speeding roaming around.

Despite that “Natural Born Steel” can be proclaimed as a typical Euro influenced Metal album, I found a few elements that elevated it a little from being average. It shows a wonderful lead guitar prowess and utmost talent, a few examples of knocking 80s anthems, crude straightforwardness but while also leaving a room for spikes of Hard Rock. 80s Metal admirers will find themselves on this release and I think that LOUNDESS fans in particular will share the same approbation.

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Distress
2. The God Inside (Featuring: Jonas Hansson)
3. I've Got To Be Free
4. Diamond Dust
5. IronForce (Featuring: Kai Hansen)
6. Sing To Say Goodbye
7. Natural Born Steel
8. Ain’t Gonna Fall No More
9. Roaring Thunder
10. Mighty Pride
11. Blessing The Last Time
12. Stay Tough 
Lineup:
Katsuhiko Hotta– Lead Vocals / Guitars
Mitsuru Yasuda– Guitars / Vocals
Takahiro Yonehara– Bass / Vocals
Jun Nakatsubo- Drums
Record Label: Spiritual Beast Records
     


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