Tokyo Blade

Night of the Blade

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In retrospect, the differences between Tokyo Blade's first and second albums provided a snapshot of the evolving motivations driving British heavy metal, as its template for success that had been epitomized by Iron Maiden circa 1982 and 1983 gave way in 1984 to Def Leppard's conquering of the American market, on the back of the previous year's Pyromania juggernaut. That is to say, where Tokyo Blade's eponymous debut from 1983 (the original version, not the confusing Canadian reissue) owed much of its sonic blueprint to the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, 1984's Night of the Blade unquestionably found the group angling for Leppard's newfound hook-laden hard rock formula, as evidenced by idiot-proof numbers like "Someone to Love," "Rock Me to the Limit," and "Lovestruck" (whose lyrics could have been written by a chimp). Recently installed new vocalist Vic Wright had also been hired specifically to aid in this transformation, and his higher-pitched, somewhat whiney delivery really drew the line in the sand, so to speak, that separated Tokyo Blade Mark I and II, although it's doubtful he was entirely to blame for the general lyrical dumbing down that ensued. The good news for any lingering fans of old was that the band was still hedging their bets, just in case this new direction didn't pan out with a few terrific glances into the rearview mirror -- including the incendiary title track, the dueling six-string ecstasy of "Unleash the Beast," and the majestic "Dead of the Night" -- inserted betwixt the trifling nonsense cited above. As a result, Night of the Blade sounds like the work of a totally schizophrenic band, and it's too bad that Tokyo Blade wound up picking the wrong evil twin for the next stage of their career (hint: the one with hairspray, makeup, and little musical imagination), thus accelerating their fall into disgrace.

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