The Best of Nexus Years

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Despite submitting plenty of candidates for potential international stardom throughout the 1980s, Japanese heavy metal still went largely ignored in Western markets once you look beyond the modest success achieved by Loudness and, to a lesser degree, the Gene Simmons-sponsored, mostly smoke-and-mirrors EZO. Associates of the same J-metal generation, Earthshaker certainly suffered this fate, garnering a very small amount of U.S. press and curiosity upon the release of their first album, then quietly retreating to their homeland as if they'd never existed, or had simply broken up. But Earthshaker were still going strong, without even a change in their lineup, a whole two decades later, having apparently contented themselves with domestic acclaim for their almost yearly albums and tours. The Best of Nexus Years represents a mere portion of that span with a sample of the band's first four albums (1983 to 1985), but its 15 songs should be more than enough to satisfy the merely curious listener. Much like their inspirational forefathers Y&T (whose best album they adopted as their name), Earthshaker's first efforts contained catchy, melodic, but somewhat tame and formulaic heavy rock. Whether tackling energetic material ("Wall," "Kioku No Naka" [In Memory], "Midnight Flight," etc.) or a power ballad like "I Feel All Sadness," vocalist Masafumi Nishida's high-pitched wail was pretty much a ringer for Loudness' Minoru Niihara but, for his part, technically restrained guitarist Shinichiro Ishihara was no Akira Takasaki (or even Dave Meniketti, for that matter) -- nor did he to want to be, it seems. So, in much the same way as their music was fundamentally simple, if it turns out you like Y&T and/or Loudness, are looking to delve a little deeper into J-metal, and don't mind almost all the words save for choruses being sung in Japanese, this collection is a perfect introduction to the world of Earthshaker.

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