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Tokyo Blade - Night of the Blade…The Night Before Award winner

Tokyo Blade
Night of the Blade… The Night Before
by "Metal Mark" Garcia at 01 July 2021, 6:51 AM

NWOBHM wasn’t a fair musical movement. No, the reader saw the right words, because in the middle of those boiling days, many musical acts were left into the underground scene, and those with a better commercial strategy became success. But does this mean that IRON MAIDEN and DEF LEPPARD were the best bands in those days? Leave aside your own musical taste, and answer yourself fairly: are acts as TANK, DIAMOND HEAD, ANGEL WITCH and others inferior to the previous ones? There are many gems on the movement that deserve to be praised, and one of them is “Night of the Blade”, the second album from the English quintet TOKYO BLADE, here presented once more, but as the title “Night of the Blade… The Night Before” shows, there are differences from the original version.

Their first album, “Tokyo Blade” (1983), was a massive success into underground, so it could mean that things would be better to the second, but it’s not the case: the original label pressured the band to fire their Alan Marsh (the band’s singer), and to have Vic Wright on the vocals, what caused a turmoil into the band’s core. But here, on this version, the voice heard is from Alan, what means that’s the original version of the album, with songs that aren’t on the original release. What’s heard on the album: that old and good British form of Heavy Metal using melodies inherited from Hard Rock, but with a heavier and classic approach, different from what is heard on 1984’s “Night of the Blade” version (that was more accessible for a broader public, what caused complaints back in the 80’s and made some fans to leave the band aside). So if this version was released back in those days, maybe the quintet could be a success (but remembering: such interferences on the band’s work were extremely usual on the middle of the 80’s, what justifies some trashy releases from excellent bands as PICTURE’s “Traitor” and RAVEN’s “The Pack if Back”). This version of “Night of the Blade” was mastered for vinyl by Patrick W. Engel in September 2020, and the cutting was done by SST Germany on Neumann machines (to have an optimal quality on all levels, remembering that the cutting process on vinyl releases is an extremely important moment for the sonority), so expect a great experience, because things are really great: respecting what was done in the past, but with a modern definition and improvements on the weight and volume.

Well, if this version were released in 1982 or a little earlier, maybe IRON MAIDEN would had to struggle in a harder way for success. Songs as “Night of the Blade” (heavy and massive, with excellent work from bass guitar and drums), “Warrior of the Rising Sun” (fine contrasts between soft and introspective parts with heavier moments, with great guitars, a specialty of the quintet), “Unleash the Beast” (some accessible Hard Rock touches can be heard on the melodies, and the vocals are extremely better), “Love Struck” (another song with very good Hard Rock influences, but with a heavier instrumental work), “Dead of the Night” and “Someone to Love” (very good vocals and backing vocals on an accessible song) are really showing what the fans expected from them on those days. And “Attack Attack” (another very good and energetic work of the guitars), “Fever” (excellent work of bass guitar and drums on a heavier and aggressive song), “Breakout” and “Madame Guillotine” is proof that they had everything in their hands, and if interferences weren’t done, they could be the third great force on NWOBHM.

Well, listen to “Night of the Blade… The Night Before”, and enjoy it as TOKYO BLADE deserves to be enjoyed: at loudest volume possible! But’s a pity that it seems that High Roller Records doesn’t have plans for a CD version of it (maybe a pressing of 300 copies would be enough to satisfy the fans).

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 9

5 Star Rating

1. Night of the Blade
2. Warrior of the Rising Sun
3. Unleash the Beast
4. Love Struck
5. Attack Attack
6. Fever
7. Dead of the Night
8. Breakout
9. Madame Guillotine
10. Someone to Love
Alan Marsh - Vocals
John Wiggins - Guitars
Andy Boulton - Guitars
Andy Wrighton - Bass
Steve Pierce - Drums
Record Label: High Roller Records


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