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A Slightly New Direction For Animetal - 95%

corviderrant, September 25th, 2006

I absolutely love this album because it takes Animetal's established melodic speed metal sound and takes it to the next level. Enhanced by even better production than usual, there is a subtle change to their sound in the form of an extra ounce of energy, especially in drummer Katsuji's performance on this album.

It's as though he decided "Well, Masaki-san's been jacking it up, so why can't I?" And his performance, solid as usual, is more confident and aggressive to boot--in fact, this album features some of the fastest material they've recorded (along with the material on "Marathon 7"). They even incorporate some restrained blast beats here and there, which really surprised me on first listen! Tracks 13 and 26 in particular feature this extra level of vigorous pounding on his part, as well as his considerable double kick prowess really driving the songs along like engines.

This is not to say that the rest of the band is slacking at all. In fact, guitarist Syu cranks out some of his best riffs on this album as well as some fantastic soloing and Masaki is his usual terrifying self on the bass front. He even throws in a wild and frenzied yet precise solo for track # 21 with no distortion at all, just his fingers generating fret buzz due to what must be some pretty low action. Eizo Sakamoto's vocals are up to their usual high standard of gritty passion and he lets out some pretty hair-raising screams on this album too.

I wish I could run down the songs for you all, but I've only been able to find English language translations for a handful of the 40-odd songs on display here. I will tell you though, that the beginning (and sometimes ending) theme songs for "Getter Robo G", "Mazinger Z", "Great Mazinger", "Shinzo Ningen Casshan", and "Science Ninja Team Gatchaman" are well represented here. And I might add that their penchant for tossing in classic metal riffs when you least expect them changes a bit on this album too; they play *variations* on those riffs now, like the variation on Dio's "King of Rock N' Roll" that opens one track, for example, and the variation on Kiss' "Rock N' Roll All Night" that opens another.

In short; basically the same approach but turbo charged with extra energy and aggression for the J-metal heroes is what to expect on this album. Like any of their other albums, this serves as an excellent introduction to what Animetal does and the fact that they do it well. Check it out!