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Tak Matsumoto Group - TMG I (CD)

Tak Matsumoto Group
by Grigoris Chronis at 30 November 2004, 8:41 AM

A wide smile of… everything… appeared on my face as I was given this specific CD. For us mediterraneans, the pronunciation of Eastern Asian names and bands always was a matter of jawbreaker-ish hard working project (who can forget the mighty Loudness' members Munetaka Higuchi or Masayoshi Yamashita), bringing series of laughs - no offence our Eastern Asian friends, you're obviously having the same problems with our names! Well, laughs were cut since the CD player took over to display this guitar virtuoso's effort. And there are at least two good reasons for that…
Tak Matsumoto seems to be a genuine star in the Land of the Rising Sun. He's the mainman (composer, guitarist, producer) behind B'Z, one of Japan's most successful bands of all time. B'Z, as I was shocked to find out, have sold the respectable amount of more than 80,000,000 records in Japan alone (yes, you can count the 0s as many times as you wish). In late 2003 he formed a new band with the collaboration of Western famed artists like singer Eric Martin (ex-Mr. Big) and legendary bassist Jack Blades (Night Ranger, Damn Yankees, Rubicon, Shaw/Blades project). Percussions duties would be handled by ex-Foreigner/Slash's Snakepit/Pride & Glory/Ozzy Osbourne and Lenny Cravitz drummer Cindy Bachman. Case #1: With that kind of colleagues, you know what you should expect, in terms of musical performance.
TMG I, being the band's debut full-length effort \[in early spring 2004, the band released the Oh Japan (Our Time Is Now) mini-CD], is certainly an album at least worth checking, not to state must-have, for all followers of guitar-driven melodic Hard Rock music. And why's that? Let's expand: In this CD I can feel the great mixture of classic Hard Rock with an updated production, satisfying both the retro Hard Rock lovers (mainly ages over 30) and the juvenile Melodic Rock fans of today. Does anyone remember compatriot virtuoso Kuni? If so, Tak is in a more up-to-date vein,still with blistering riffs and groovy melodies, only in today's production standards. You know, more middle-sounding bass, some distorted vocals… Reminded me a lot of Bon Jovi's 90's efforts, also ideas (mostly in slower parts) that were present in Mr. Big's discography, not to mention the general rock-ish feeling that Blades was used to both in Night Ranger but mainly in the Yankees. Kings For A Day is a real rocker, while I Wish You Were Here meets the 80s sleazy standards when Skidrow ruled the globe. Just to add, Train, Train flows out with this 70's feeling, similar to pioneers like Bad Company or their vibe-maintainers Thunder.
Case #2: So many styles - as said - in the same album, styles mixed so cleverly, spanning through ALL the ingredients a great Hard Rock album's made of! Sincerely, a candidate for the Top 10 of 2004's greatest releases!

4 Star Rating

Oh Japan (Our Time Is Now)
Everything Passes Away
Kings For A Day
I Know You by Heart
I Wish You Were Here
The Greatest Show On Earth
Signs Of Life
Red, White And Bullet Blues
My Alibi
Train, Train
Two Of A Kind
Never Good-bye
Eric Martin - Vocals
Take Matsumoto - Guitar
Jack Blades - Bass
Brian Tichy - Drums
Cindy Blackman - Drums
Record Label: Frontiers Records


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