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Tokyo Blade – ‘Powergame’
Tokyo Blade are somewhat paradoxical; constantly suffering from line-up changes, one of the messiest discographies in the history of heavy metal – both a mainstream and cult reverence – though taking a turn for the glam in the later part of the 80’s. Here though – it’s not hard to see why they were at a time one of the most premier and poular NWOBHM acts. Their breakthrough single, from the legendary quasi-self-titled full length is an absolute essential to NWOBHM record collectors – and features some fast paced, energetic rock ’n’ roll assaults. At this time – you had to be hard and heavy to get anywhere – and Tokyo Blade delivers on both accounts here with two tracks that would become amongst their best known and frequent in the live set. ‘Powergame’ is probably the winner though – while the furious ‘Death on Mainstreet’ doesn’t wane on wailing guitar and impact – the aforementioned probably has the better hook/chorus.
Anyway – while both tracks feature stratospheric guitar riffs – very much similar to the Iron Maiden of the period, the b-side features some of the most awesome leadwork of the period alongside Savage and other greats. Absolutely slaying punk and pop-rock with this all-out shredding attack. The intro/verse section features the nasty horror lyrics in the tradition of ‘Wrath of the Ripper’ by Grim Reaper, or the legendary ‘Ripper’ by Priest. Cool lyrics in this one and some very much Iron Maidenish guitar/basswork. A ‘killer’ number that lives up to an ominous title. Meanwhile – your title track here is a NWOBHM great – worthy of any compilation of NWOBHM’s greatest hits. ‘Powergame’ thunders into action with some tough riffage before racing into aggressiveness in Alan Marsh’s classic delivery. This one seems a bit more formulaic and benefits from a strong, fast chorus attack, and doesn’t relent on steel heavy riffage. Two utterly slaying riff monsters here – you can see how these guys were catapulted to stardom with this stellar guitar driven sound. Guitars are the most Maiden-esque you can hear in NWOBHM (particularly the end riffage in the title track) which is killer, and energy and honesty are present here in bucketloads. Not hard to see why Tokyo Blade is still one of the most well regarded NWOBHM acts to come out of the scene. Thrilling rock n roll here!