Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2019
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

What glam rock should sound like - 72%

Ancient Sunlight, November 28th, 2014

It may be quite hard to believe that an obscure Japanese metal band alternatively called Bow Wow, Vow Wow and Bowwow is actually good, but the world is often surprising. They were around since the early 70s, and thus rocked for decades. In 1984, they changed the band name from Bow Wow to Vow Wow, hired a new singer, and adopted a more commercial sound. They even moved to England later in 1987, though they never became big there.

Vow wow is one of the few bands from which I can accept shameless commercial appeals. Somehow the commercial tenets aren't as tasteless and banal on albums like this. There are synthesizers and a piano on this album, but the commerciality is somehow a little more honest than it could have been. The band builds on its roots amicably, instead of betraying them. This is what a good glam metal should be: enjoyable, catchy heavy rock. Nothing too wimpy, nothing too heavy: just mild fun.

The sound is very distinctive – truly one of a kind. I've never heard anything like it. The guitar tone is otherworldly, the synthesizers are used in a very interesting way (truly the best I've ever heard them mixed into rock music), and the vocals are very idiosyncratic. The unsparing use of reverb adds to the effect. All songs are anthemic and have a moderate tempo. They are generally enhanced by synthesizer touches, which are woven into the sound almost as if it's another guitar. There won't be any furious headbanging here; but there is nothing too mellow either. The instrumental Lonely Fairy is an actually touching interlude of 40 seconds, giving some breathing room, before the unveiling of the customary ballad, which is decent and only held back by its considerable length (over 7 minutes). The remainder of the album is solid, mid-paced rock.

The lyrics are almost entirely in English (three songs feature Japanese lyrics too), and lack the Engrish occasionally found on albums by other Japanese bands. The singer does have a very odd accent, which adds an interesting edge to the music. My favorite display of his talents is Baby It's Alright, which is somehow very funny. The mix of Japanese and English, coupled with the odd vocals and fun riffing, create an image of some Japanese dude laconically going “chill gall, it'll be all right” – probably what they were going for! They could have dialed back the reverb a little on that track though.

In Beat of Metal Motion, the title track, the band actually managed to craft a metal dancing song – try and accomplish that again! Rock Me became one of their most famous tracks, often referred to as Rock Me Now. It's good fun. My personal favorite track is Diamond Night, which would be a fitting end to a fun night of dating. The synthesizers are once more expertly utilized, creating a very amiable atmosphere of success and fun. It's another track that mixes Japanese and English lyrics very well. The chorus is the sort of one-of-a-kind catchy that will never leave your skull; but that's hardly a bad thing.

This isn't first rate stuff – not in general, and not in terms of Vow Wow's discography – but playing it a few times certainly won't hurt anyone. Give it a spin if Vow Wow's commercial side seems like your cup of tea! They'd get even better at it later.