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A Strong Ending Effort - 85%

corviderrant, October 9th, 2006

Sadly, this is for now to be the last Animetal album due to the band wishing to pursue other projects, and this is a strong ending effort. They go out with a bang, too, instead of a whimper. Even though the energy level, dare I say it, flags slightly by the end of the album (and I mean slightly), they still tear it up in style and with the usual level of musical prowess they are known for. The production is outstanding as always, too, clear yet dark and crunchy, with a thicker guitar sound than usual coupled with Masaki's deeper bass tone making for additional heaviness. And the drums really crack and boom on this album, too, though I must wonder to what extent they're triggered to get that extra edge.

The energy and aggression levels achieved on the previous album ("The Sentimetal") are easily achieved on here and the opening instrumental, "Dark Side of the Angel", is one of their most technically advanced, featuring some tricky unison riffing with guitar and bass. Still catchy, though, if you don't mind humming lots of notes! The powerful opening tandem of "Mahou Sentai Magiranger" and "Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger" will bowl you over with their level of intensity, and though they do sound a little similar the effect is potent nontheless.

"Midnight! Dekaranger" goes into slower Pantera-sounding territory and a slew of Kamen Rider themes follow, including "Kyo Mo Tatakau Stronger" (Tomorrow Stronger Fights Again) which features some sweet bass licks at the end from Masaki and the severely downtuned "Otoko No Na Wa Kamen Rider", a slower and more emotional track. The most amusing tracks in this section are the Kamen Rider V3 ending theme "Kamen Rider Boy's Squad Song" which has a great singalong feel like the original and the radically different treatment of the Kamen Rider Amazon ending theme, "Amazon, Da-Da-Da!" The original version of that song is an amusing children's song, but their version is a frenzied blast beat driven charge with atonal guitar parts that's as close to black metal as I've heard these guys ever get. And Sakamoto-san lets out an especially bloodcurdling scream ("Da, Da, DAAAAAA!!!!") at the end too.

They also cover some lesser-known sentai theme songs on this album, such MachineMan, BaraBaraMan (some very cool backing vocals on this that really drive the riff along), Denjiman, the ending theme for JAKQ ("jacka" they say in Japan), and Kyodain. A fantastic version of the classic Dragonball Z theme song, "Cha-La, Head Cha-La" is one of the greatest highlights here and makes me wonder why it wasn't given the Animetal treatment earlier on?

All in all, the J-metal heroes took the high road and ended on a good strong note instead of prolonging the inevitable and burning out, and even though I can detect some weariness here and there, the effect is still inspiring and energetic. And though they claim this is only a hiatus, I am not holding my breath for another Animetal album just yet. I wish the guys all the best of luck in their future projects and again seriously recommend this to the readers out there like I'd recommend any of their other albums.