Akira Takasaki

Tusk of Jaguar

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The Loudness guitarist's first solo album is more sophisticated than one would have expected. Tusk of Jaguar employs a lot of wattage, to be sure, but it also has its moments of lyricism, as in the opening section of "Steal Away" -- which also includes some flamboyant piano accompaniment. A goodly portion of the record rocks out hard, as on the title track, but for every moment like that, there are also odd and pleasing interludes, such as space rock influenced "Macula (Far from Mother Land)," and the harder pop/rock of "Ebony Eyes" (definitely not the Everly Brothers tune) is also a treat. But for all of those surprises, there's no shortage of pyrotechnics to keep the core fans happy and entertained.

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