When it was released in 1976, Bow Wow's first album filled a yawning gulf of lapsed hard rock evolution in Japan stretching back almost half a decade! In essence, it picked up the torch left to flicker and almost die when homegrown early-‘70s proto-metal greats like Flower Travellin' Band and Speed, Glue & Shinki lost their way and were overrun by aggressively touring foreign powers like Led Zeppelin, Queen, and Deep Purple -- so much so, that by the time guitar prodigy Kyoji Yamamoto joined forces with vocalist/guitarist Mitsuhiro Saito, bassist Kenji Sano, and drummer Toshihiro Niimi, the Japanese music scene was entirely dominated by manufactured pop stars and boy bands once again, making it all the more impressive that the members of Bow Wow were able to stand their creative ground against commercial and label pressure. But Yamamoto's guitar-centric songs simply would not be denied, and after frightening off the suits during their very first day in the studio, the youthful quartet peeled off a number of strong efforts like the hard-driving, Deep Purple-quoting "Heart's on Fire," the fluid boogie rocker "Volume On," and especially the eerily named heavy blues epic "James in My Casket," which literally hulks over the proceedings thanks to a jaw-dropping Yamamoto guitar workout inspired by and dedicated to Jimi Hendrix. The album isn't without compromises, though, including the rather lightweight "Withered Sun" (think a sweetened remake of the Beatles' "I Want You [She's So Heavy]") and the particularly embarrassing "Foxy Lady," which is a anything but a Hendrix cover, but rather bubblegum power pop that, at best, predates Japan's love affair with Cheap Trick by a few years. Nevertheless, this self-titled debut was a bold and incredibly promising introduction by any measure, and it laid the foundation upon which Bow Wow would erect their legacy as one of Japan's greatest heavy rock bands ever, over the decades to come.
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AllMusic Review by Eduardo Rivadavia