Tokyo Blade are renowned for their contribution to the classic era of New Wave of British Heavy Metal and especially their classic self-titled debut.
However, they’re much more than that and in the intervening period have released 12 studio albums. Yes, they’ve had their ups and downs, break-ups and disagreements, but what relationships haven’t had some of that over the course of 40 years?
Since the band reformed in 2010 with four of the original ‘classic’ line-up plus the more recent acquisition of vocalist Alan Marsh, Tokyo Blade have released Thousand Men Strong and now Unbroken.
Out now on 3Ms Music, Unbroken finds Tokyo Blade in absolute top form.
Unbroken gets off to a rip-roaring start and the veterans of Andy Boulton (guitar), John Wiggins (guitar), Andy Wrighton (bass) and Steve Pierce (drums) prove they’ve got it, and in spades. “The Devil’s Gonna Bring you Down” is a great opener, full of pace and power.
From then on there is no let up at all, with Marsh at the top of his game. His vocals are special with just a hint of the occasional vibrato so reminiscent of Sean Harris, of fellow NWOBHM forerunners Diamond Head.
Throughout the album there are solos galore, none more impressive than on the barnstorming second track “Bullet Made Of Stone”.
This is no nostalgia trip for Tokyo Blade, they’re here to prove they can perform modern rock and this is no better highlighted than on on track 3, “Burn Down the Night”. Wrighton’s cool bass leads us gently into a song which could easily fit into Shinedown’s canon. Intense pointed lyrics are perfectly staged ahead of solid riffs.
Wrighton is at it again, but in a more direct fashion, to open “The Man In Black” and the following intro is definitely the chops of Thin Lizzy. Cool stuff indeed.
A smoother track follows in “No Time to Bleed”, although still Lizzy inspired riffing is present throughout. On this track the band prove they can soften up but maintain quality melodies and the solo is up there.
“Dead Again” ramps up the pace once more and is a song full of intent and purpose with a superb extended solo fitting in perfectly.
“Bad Blood” is up next and the quality never wanes. A rocker interspersed with Brian May-esque guitar wails, which just adds to the interest. Boulton shows his phalangeal dexterity is maintained with another scorching twiddling solo, great stuff.
If you desire a head-banging singalong then look no further than “Black Water”, shake your fist and scream the chorus then air-guitar the solo. Something for everyone there. Check out the video below.
“Stings Like An Open Wounds” carries on the good work, with great melody, riffage and solo action.
Tokyo Blade’s storytelling is at its best on “The Last Samurai”. With atmosphere aplenty there is a great deal to admire.
Finally, we have a nod to Tokyo Blade’s NWOBHM roots with “My Kind of Heaven”. Whilst the acoustic start may not be reminiscent of their past, the rest most definitely is. Crunching riffs announce the arrival of the storming vocal which may well have been intended for “If Heaven Is Hell” in a past life. The solos come thick and fast in glorious fashion and this track provides an absolute killer finish.
Overall, this album is fabulous from start to finish. Tokyo Blade prove 11 times over that they aren’t about reliving past glories, they’re all about creating new ones.