Label: Avalon - MICP-10988 • Format: CD Album • Country: Japan • Genre: Rock • Style: Heavy Metal
Best viewed without Internet Explorer, in x resolution or higher. I discovered this band not long ago, when I roamed on YouTube aimlessly. I said ''count me in'' and before you know it, I ended up with their debut album, ''Heads Will Roll''. It's not great, has some significant flaws, but damn, this band know exactly what heavy metal is all about - fun, passion and attitude.
Katana has all of that, and aren't afraid of using them. Like I said, Phoenix On Fire - Katana - Heads Will Roll Maiden factor is very important for Katana's music. Several riffs and bridges the best ones, actually are bloody similar to Maiden's trademark riffing with a dead-on sense for melody. Musically, this album resembles metal's most glory days in the '80s, and is yet another proof how supposedly surpassed and retrograde music can be powerful with modern production, and more importantly, way better than today's mainstream poor excuse for music.
With all that in mind, it's as clear as day that Katana's music is made to entertain, with no pretensions to be something it's not, and that's another plus for them. But this kind of music is a double-edged sword.
When it's good, it's mind-blowing, but when it's bad, it's bland and annoying. That's the trap that Katana didn't completely manage to avoid, since there are some great songs here, but some fillers as well.
Luckily, on ''Heads Will Roll'' there are more good than bad songs, and after all you can call this a worthy debut. First, the good aspects. The band performance is very convincing and professional, no half-assed delivery anywhere to be found.
The lyrics, while dealing with stereotypical subjects, are actually good, especially the ones on ''Phoenix on Fire'' and ''Quest for Hades''.
All of these songs are excellent, with Katana's songwriting skills reaching its top - melodic, catchy, hooky anthems that are destined to be played live. Let's hope that Katana will be able to pull off more songs like these in the future. Also worth mentioning are ''Neverending World'' for the great chorus and interesting solo part and ''Asia in Sight'' for its unusual lyrical subject - it is actually about discovering of America Columbus thought he discovered maritime way to India, thus Asia.
The fillers have, as I mentioned, one big flaw - they sound like you've heard similar songs thousands of times before and are very annoying Saxon mid '80s era annoying, yeah I know that's bad. Heavy metal shouldn't make you want it to end, but these tunes do.
The first two try to invoke trademark '80s heavy metal brilliance, but fail miserably, while ''Quest for Hades'' is very interesting lyrical-wise, but the music sounds rushed and as if its only purpose is to back up the whole lyrical story, instead Phoenix On Fire - Katana - Heads Will Roll being the other way around. Still, despite the overall ''going through motions'' feeling, this song has several interesting ideas, and it probably could've been much better if the song concept was done properly.
This is what you get when bands which shouldn't bother with epics because they don't know the first thing about writing them, actually spawn that kind of unholy bastard. I hope that Katana will listen properly to their debut album, make some thorough analysis and fix the mistakes they made here.
I have hope for this band, as they delivered some truly great music on this album, but be assured - they have to get better, otherwise they'll fall into oblivion very soon. With that ominous words, I conclude: this is one good debut, but the improvement is necessary as soon as possible for Katana. I'm waiting for their next move. Lots of new bands which play classic heavy metal came in last 5 years, and that is very good.
They need to remind people how that heavy metal's sub-genre should actually sound like. This band started doing that along with bands like Steelwing, Striker, etc. Is this band so special or different than their influences and other new classic heavy metal bands?
I hope this review will explain. These are pure examples of band's talent, creativity and huge potential. They are easily Phoenix On Fire - Katana - Heads Will Roll best songs here. Heart Of Tokyo starts with mind-blowing drums, after that come screaming guitars, and the rest is just perfectly done.
You have soaring vocals, great sing-along refrains, extremely well-written lyrics, fast tempo, tasty and very great guitar solos, though there are no memorable riffs. But who cares, this one is really perfect. Livin' Without Fear has melodic guitar intro, and these guitars may remind you of Sonata Arctica's keyboards.
I know it's weird, but so true. This song has fast riffs with melodic approach, melodies all way long, great guitar solo, soaring vocals, and it is great sing-along song too. These songs contain insane amount of energy. Phoenix On Fire is fun to listen, and another awesome sing-along fun. It represents band's attitude, because of lyrics of course. It has The Cover Of The Rolling Stone - Dr.
Hook - Greatest Hits kick-ass refrains, interesting guitar work, and slower tempo. Yes, these songs show how great this band can be, but unfortunately that is all. After them come songs that could have been better, mediocre and really boring ones. Blade Of Katana could have been better, but it just lacks that something, something that songs I mentioned above have.
It has memorable refrains, but maybe with more riffs, or better song structure it could have been improved. Before and after refrain it sounds nothing special and not really impressive. Other songs are totally faceless. Together they can barely offer a good riff, that's mainly because they were focused on lyrics, while they neglected music.
In some of these songs instrumental parts only follow the lyrical content. It tells a story about a girl who went into the Hades Tears Of A Clown - The London Symphony Orchestra - Classic Rock 3 - Rhapsody In Black find brother's soul, and she has never returned. That's exactly what has happened with this song, it went in my media player, and it will never return there again.
Having 80's image and sound doesn't mean you don't need to be creative. Good sides of this release: Good thing is that these guys try to keep the flame of heavy metal music burning. Few outstanding excellent songs. That's all we have here. Bad sides of this release: This band is not very special at all.
They are just "another new classic heavy metal band". Maybe this is just bad start, I hope they will improve their song writing qualities, it would be better for them. They should concentrate more on making memorable and powerful music, not just writing lyrics. Garbed in threads woven straight from the NWOBHM movement at the dawn of the 80s, and a moniker that reads 'white guys and girl who want to be associated with something Japanese and therefore cool in the 80s', circa Samurai or Tokyo Blade, I present to thee: Katana.
Phoenix On Fire - Katana - Heads Will Roll one of the latest Swedish exports of melodic retro metallurgy, they are not without obvious precedents, from the lately fashionable act Enforcer to the longstanding veterans Hammerfall.
That aside, they do a pretty reasonable estimation of a wide array of influences all over the classic British, Swedish and German spectrum, perhaps with a bit of Riot for good measure. Heads Will Roll is a total package, a debut bound to bring some notice, but it doesn't ultimately endure beyond a few entertaining listens.
This is essentially era trad metal rolled up into modern studio gloss and pumping power To The Funky (Bass Injection) - DJ Flash / DJ Karp - Петля 2 Осень 98, somewhere between Europe, Tokyo Blade, Dio, and Maiden. There are a number of track that lyrically deliver the Nippon-isms "Blade of Katana", "Asia in Sight", and of course "Heart in Tokyo"all keeping in tune with the band's image and concept, but the subject matter also ranges from feel good rockers "Rebel Ride" to Greek mythology "Quest for Hades", the most dynamic and innately narrative of the tracks.
The band is tight and the dual leads are flying out everywhere, from the actual solo sequences to the airy stratosphere above the rhythm guitars. The basic tone of the chords is crunchy and powerful, yet the melodies catch enough air to distinguish themselves as a central force.
But far less successful is Katana's ability to stand out on an ever expanding field of such artists Phoenix On Fire - Katana - Heads Will Roll for a bite of nostalgia that they were mostly to young to have experienced first hand. Add to that the fact that we've got hundreds of superb records already in rotation from the formative years of the style, and Heads Will Roll seems a little less revelatory.
Though the Swedes pay attention to the details and proffer a pastiche of authentic cliches to suit the less demanding generation just breaking into this scene, I found it a little difficult for my memory to hang onto these tracks.
The extra 'magic' that a band like Enforcer conjures is simply missing here, and nothing more than a competent, occasionally catchy mirror of olde remains. While the Swedish power metal resurgence of the late 90s and early s has been petering out over the last few years, with less new bands coming through and some of the old stable losing their way, there lately seems to be a groundswell of newer outfits clamouring to take their place on the international stage.
While Gallows End made a fantastic debut earlier this year that signalled an intent to keep the power metal fire burning, others, such as Enforcer, Steelwing and of course Katana, have taken a further step back to use NWOBHM and anthemic 80s metal as their blueprint.
There are plenty of bands around the globe taking this tact at the moment making the cynic wonder how they all managed to stumble across the same idea at roughly the same time With quite a few tracks barely more than 3 minutes long it would have been easy for them to end up sounding abortive and incomplete, Phoenix On Fire - Katana - Heads Will Roll the inverse is actually I Can Tell - Chuck Willis & The Sandmen / Chuck Willis - I Can Tell / One More Break each has been honed to a diamond-fine point and completes its given task with the utmost efficiency.
Spending several minutes quietly building ominous intensity in a doomy opening period at 6 minutes in length it is a veritable titan on this CDit suddenly explodes into glorious life while retaining the oppressive atmosphere, and will have the listener begging for mercy by the time it finally comes to a juddering conclusion.
Black Magic - Slayer - Show No Mercy alone as something completely different to the preceding 8 songs, it ends the CD in an unexpected and suitably brilliant fashion and displays one last facet of the deceptively rounded sound Katana have crafted for themselves.
Mystic Mood - Leslie Butler / Willie Lindo - Reggae Rhapsody / Mystic Mood, 005 - Omb - Oral / Method, (For The) Love Of Weeping - Shackleton - Music For The Quiet Hour / The Drawbar Organ EPs, Ne Place - Kepa - Antecedente Lirice, La Fleur Sans Nom - Marie Laforêt - LIntégrale Festival 1960 / 1970 - Volume 3