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“…death doesn’t need appointments, never know when it strikes…”
In ’83 and ’84, Tokyo Blade bore around ten discs (eleven counting the one as Genghis Khan) ranging from lps, eps, and singles, but many people aren't aware that several songs can be heard strutting across multiple releases, so to all you TB newbies out there who aren’t collectors, be careful what you’re buying. If you have the ’84 Combat reissue of the nameless ’83 debut, later dubbed Metal Rendezvous (with practically the same cover), then you already own this group of standards trotting around TB’s fairly remarkable stable up to this point. For an extra high-five, you’re also in possession of the ’83 Genghis Khan ep, Double Dealin’, albeit with slightly altered versions, but it’s the thought that counts.
This gang of four, as cheered by many a fan, are celebrated as band hallmarks most worthy of reuse prior to the release of same-year full-lengther Night of the Blade, making this one helluva TB dream novelty. “Mean Streak” and “Highway Passion” are fleet-footed enforcers expert in delighting T-blade mongers wherever and whenever played and here act as burly bodyguards flanking the more exploratory, creative, and primed nuances of the title track as well as the more mid-paced hard fist “If Heaven is Hell" and its downplayed, yet dramatic chorus, which honestly doesn’t need any back-up muscle. And if you happen to see Roadrunner Records’ logo on the jacket, then treated you’ll be to a fifth song, the awesome thrill ride “Death on Main Street”, another virile, black n’ blue-chorused ass-kicker like the fellow ass-kickers living upstairs, hiding out ‘til now on their ’83 Powergame single. Combat or Roadrunner, you really can’t go wrong with either (but obviously you’ll get more right with the latter’s).
Truthfully, just about any song from Metal Rendezvous, the lp, could’ve flexed the unofficial ‘greatest of’ status this ep has garnered with equal success: “Power Game”, “Killer City”, “Sunrise in Tokyo”, “Break the Chains”, and even underestimated “Liar” from the ’83 original, so if after hearing this your plate yearns for a more satisfying Tokyo Blade portion, pick up the Combat release and leave Powerstation’s original for a later snack.
Luckily, with this ep’s markedly different cover, we’re not subject to extra same-name, similar-cover confusion that made life, um, interesting in the past.
Powerstation's four-song original: 88%
Roadrunner's five-song reissue: 93%
“…he strikes for vengeance, then he’s gone without a trace…”
Tokyo Blade are a band I don't know a lot about, all I can tell you is that on this album they play a fast and energetic style of NWOBHM. Obviously inspired by early Iron Maiden(especially Killers,) but with a more raw sound, and more of a punk attitude. The production is solid, sounds pretty good for 1984. The musicianship is good, it's a bit rough around the edges, but I would imagine that's intentional. Some of the soloing is surprisingly very good, and their singer is absolutely great, he has a perfect NWOBHM voice. He sounds similar to Paul Di'anno, but even better in my opinion.
The title track kicks off the album, it's not exactly fast or energetic but it is incredibly catchy. The pre-chorus verse riff slays, and the vocals are absolutely stellar. It's a little light and fluffy, but man it's so damn catchy that you don't even notice how cheesy it is. "Mean Streak" is straight up old school speed metal, it sounds like the faster moments from the first two Maiden albums. The music is wild and raw, the chorus is catchy, the song is just full of attitude. There's a breakdown at 2:37 that is damn near thrash. "If Heaven is Hell" is an epic number straight out of the Maiden play-book, a bit more ambitious than the others on here, with it's extended solos and clean guitar section, but it's really a pretty straight forward rocker for the most part. Album closer "Highway Passion" is the highlight in my opinion. Blazing fast, high energy rocker, catchy as hell chorus. One of the best driving songs you'll ever hear, certainly this song has been the cause of many a speeding ticket over the years.
I really don't have anything bad to say about this album. Since it's only a 4 song EP you can rest assured that there's no filler here. It's just some high quality old school NOWBHM that's a hell of a lot of fun to listen to.