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Improved All Around - 95%

corviderrant, October 26th, 2005

Animetal's first album was a good strong effort and this next one took it to the next level with better everything across the board. Better production and playing (even higher levels of musicianship on this one, which is saying something) along with another bevy of catchy metal adaptations of classic and obscure Japanese TV themes. You ready? Let's go! RIDER KICK! (Ahem, 'scuse me!)

Seriously, the production on this album is cleaner and had more of a budget behind it this time, it sounds like, as everything is bigger and louder without the compressed, "boxy" sound the first album had. The instruments breathe more and have their own little niches in the mix and are more audible because of it, which means that this CD will do a bit more damage to your speakers this time around.

It begins with the traditional introductory instrumental, "Animetal Theme II", which has a majestic harmony guitar beginning going into a mid paced power metal sounding double bass fuelled crunch riff with single-note guitar parts slithering over it and what sounds like female backing vocals. This segues right into a block of three Kamen Rider themes ("Let's Go! Rider Kick!", "Tatakae! Kamen Rider V3", "I Am X (Kamen Rider X)") and in a case of double whammy goes right into the themes of two of the most popular early 70s Japanese hero themes, "Jinzo Ningen Kikaida" and "Kikaida 01", delivered with equal parts abandon and precise crunchitude.

Other standouts on this CD are "Tatakae! Inazuman"(shredding, aggressive leads and a nice heavy ending part)/"Inazuman Flash" , "Henshin Ninja Arashi" with its dramatic guitar intro riff, "Kaiketsu Lion Maru", "Ninja Captor" and its strong display of guitar/bass shredding, and the ending tandem of "Amazon Rider Koko Ni Ari (Kamen Rider Amazon)"/"Kamen Rider Stronger" and "Kamen Rider no Uta (Song of Kamen Rider)".

EIzo Sakamoto delivers on the vocal front with lots of attitude and energy and guitarist She-Ja shreds away like mad alongside bass terror Masaki, while Katsuji's drumming is rock-solid beneath the lot. The theme songs for these shows are cool enough as is, but Animetal makes them even more exciting and attention-getting than the originals were/are. It's a pity they will probably never tour America, niche act that they are. This is a fun CD to listen to and whether you speak Japanese or not, the high levels of energy, musicianship, and fun the players are obviously having make this worth seeking out/downloading. Check it out!