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Saber Tiger – The Shade Of Holy Light Award winner

Saber Tiger
The Shade Of Holy Light
by Rachel Montgomery at 28 January 2020, 1:39 PM

A treat from the Japanese Metal band SABER TIGER for their fans, "The Shade Of Holy Light". This extended play features three versions of the title song and several live acts of fan favorites. If you’re a fan of this band, especially if you enjoy listening to variations of different songs or love live tracks, this is an EP for you.

“The Shade Of Holy Light” has three versions on this release, the orchestral version, the album version, and the live version. The orchestral version begins with some musical beauty that fans of more symphonic metal or even classical music can appreciate. A swell of sad, orchestral music creates a soft beginning. The violins, flue, and high vocals create a forlorn, winter scene and paints this gray, cold landscape in the mind’s eye. The rock elements kick in nearly two minutes into the song, with crashing snares, a gritty bass, and high-pitched guitars. The climbing melodies lead to wispy, thin vocals in the first verse. They sound hauntingly sad but restrained. Expectedly, they kick off into this bombastic, operatic tenor in the chorus, and the tenor is beautifully heartbreaking.

The emotiveness in the symphonic version can’t be ignored. However, I wish they did something different with the ending, such as changed up the melody more or distinguished it better as a second movement. What we got in the last few minutes was so similar to what we heard before to justify it going after the guitar solo, or the last refrain. That’s why the album version sits better with me. While it misses the emotive stylings of the orchestral version, it still gets the point across. The vocals are raspier in the first verse, but they don’t go overboard in the end and the guitar solo has more room to breathe and stand on its own. The live version is similar, showing off the vocal and guitar talent outside the studio.

The rest of the album doesn’t have repeats, rather, it has live performances of their previous songs. Unlike other live albums, this seems to be a compilation rather than a full concert. Honestly, they sound very good and show off the musicianship of the band very well. “The Crowbar Case” shows the instrumental melodic chops and the emotive vocal range of the singer in a way the almost rivals a studio version. There’s an impressive guitar solo in “Dying Breed”, full of change ups in the rhythm, melody changes, and sweeps that distinguish itself from the rest of the song. “Push” begins with some nice drumming technique. “Angel of Wrath” is the closing song, and it seems to draw the most crowd fervor. The vocalist is also in fine form here, using his operatic belt to the fullest. It’s a high-octane intense end to the album.

Overall, the live version choices were good, but seem to be filler for the three versions of “The Shade Of Holy Light”. However, the musicianship really shines through the live performance and it makes me want to listen to studio versions of their songs. Fans will enjoy live renditions of their favorite songs here and may have different insights into the different versions of the main song. For new listeners, I would check out a studio version. It seems like if you’re into symphonic metal with more classical elements, maybe with some bells and whistles, this would be a band for you. Considering the talent shown on this album, it’s a treat for die-hard fans.

Songwriting: 9
Production: 8
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 8

4 Star Rating

1. The Shade Of Holy Light (Orchestral Version)
2. The Shade Of Holy Light (Studio Version)
3. The Shade Of Holy Light (Live Version)
4. The Crowbar Case (Live Version)
5. Dying Breed (Live Version)
6. The Worse Enemy (Live Version)
7. Push (Live Version)
8. The Hammer (Live Version)
9. Angel Of Wrath (Live Version)
Takenori Simoyama – Vocals
Akihito Kinoshita – Guitars
Yasuharu Tanaka – Guitars
Hibiki – Bass
Yashuhiro Mizuno - Drums
Record Label: Sliptrick Records


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