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You Are Already Shred! - 96%

Dragonflame1994, December 18th, 2016

Yes, if the name didn't already give it away Fist of the Seven Stars Act 1: "Fist of Steel" is an Italian power metal rock opera about Fist of the North Star/Hokuto no Ken, specifically the first story arc Southern Cross, beginning when Shin first kidnaps Yuria (Julia) up to the final battle between Ken and Shin. The story is told in such a way that it almost feels like you're watching the anime, from the moment Shin steals Julia and leaves Ken near death in "She's Mine" all the way to the aftermath of the final battle as Ken buries Shin and walks off into the distance of the wasteland in "Decide Your Destiny" and everything in between such as when Ken declares to live his life for revenge in "A New Beginning", Shin professes his love for Yuria (Look at this city, I built it for you) in "Break Me" or as Ken is storming Southern Cross taking down Shin's forces getting closer to the palace in "My Advance" and when Ken laments Shin's death in "Revenge Invain", lyrically this album is just a masterpiece.

The opener of the album "Fist of Steel" basically serves as Kenshiro's theme and instantly hypes you up for the rest of the album with 80s montage synth and an empowering chorus because that's what the album is musically driven by, mostly synth, whether it be backing synth that sounds like it came straight from the 80s anime OST such as in "A New Beginning", "Revenge Invain" or "Decide Your Destiny" and over-the-top, technical, flashy synth solos that appear throughout the whole album my personal favorites come from "My Advance", "Seven Stars" and "She's Mine", so if you don't like heavy synth driven albums this might not be for you.

Though the album is heavily synth driven and the rhythm guitar is mostly standard mid-paced heavy metal riffing and speedy power metal that plays backseat to the synth, the guest guitarists do get their time to shine as well, mostly in their impressive shreddy neo-classical leads, like in the synth/guitar dueling on "Mistake" or the passionate solo playing over the harp in the background of "Sacrifice" all the vocalists also have plenty of time to shine like the passionate duet in "Break Me" between Marius Danielsen as Shin and Ida Elena as Yuria or the crazy high notes from the vocalist who plays Kenshiro in "My Advance".

In all honesty here really isn't much bad I can say about this album except the production sometimes makes the vocals and rhythm guitar sound muddy, but since it isn't pristine modern production it also gives it more of that 80s aesthetic which fits the album perfectly. To sum it up all I can say is Fist of the Seven Stars defines what an epic Rock Opera should be and if you're a Hokuto no Ken fan and haven't heard this album yet I can't recommend it enough and if songs like "Decide Your Destiny" and "Fist of Steel" don't have you singing along to every chorus...You are already dead (inside).

"Decide your destiny the fate is in your hands
Decide your destiny to face another day
Hokuto destiny forever in my heart
And the seven stars shining in the sky"