Iron Attack! – Savage Flames – 3/5
The solo work of the guitarist for “Lightning,” a small Japanese Heavy Metal band, this is an artist that seems to have far too much time on his hands. With 11 releases in the past two years, he seems to be releasing a relatively short album every couple of months, which begs the question, is he favouring quantity over quality? As it would turn out my suspicions were only partly correct.
Don’t get me wrong, he is an incredibly good guitarist, capable of upbeat neo-classical shredding that deserves a great deal more recognition than he receives. Capable of varying pace, as well as aggression, he succeeds in coming up with some incredibly good riffs and solo’s as they meander through their instrumental course. In fact, if you’re a fan of neo-classical guitar playing, this guy may well become your new best friend. The backing sees a decent level of attention, the drums are programmed effectively and can be prominently heard, and each piece is overlayed with rhythm guitars working with the drums to create a ‘playground’ for to him to explore. Even the production is excellent, proving what can be achieved with minimal resources.
The problem with this album, however, is quite simple. It all seems excellent until halfway through this 30 minute album, and you realise he doesn’t change the tone of his guitar at all, and it wasn’t that original to begin with. The constant tone, with the guitar being constantly at the forefront of a neo-classical album, even though the album is only 30 minutes long, it all too readily drifts into the background. He comes up with some truly excellent riffs and passages, but they all sound too similar. He is unquestionably an excellent guitarist, but perhaps he would be better off spending longer than a couple of months working on each album, and instead spend longer working on his tone, and squashing all the ‘best bits’ into one album to create something more memorable.
Highlights: Unconscious Philosophy, Falling Down the Ice and Fire, Blast from the Sun
Bonus Round: Iron Attack! – Devil’s Daughter – 3/5
So why review another one? I later discovered this album within his collection where he collaborated with a band called “Absolute Area,” with whom he performed a number of J-pop covers (including ‘Joint,’ sang to the tune of Priest’s ‘Electric Eye’ oddly). Now, whilst this does indeed allow for a greater degree of variety within the tracks, I’m not entirely convinced this is a good thing.
Whilst the use of an actual drummer is unquestionably an improvement, performing consistently well, and the rhythm guitarist doing what’s required of him – nothing more, nothing less – what gets me is the vocalist. A ‘cutesy’ J-pop-style female style of singing, she can be described as mediocre at best. If you can’t stand this style, you will downright abhor her, and it will likely put you off the majority of this album. Even more unfortunately than this, however, is because of her presence the lead guitars often take more of a backseat. So whilst indeed there is more diversity in the style of tracks, I’m not convinced he’s any better off for it.