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Articles Home » 1982 Articles » Takasaki, Akira - 1982 Tusk Of Jaguar
Takasaki, Akira - 1982 Tusk Of Jaguar

ARTIST: Takasaki, Akira
ALBUM: Tusk Of Jaguar
YEAR: 1982
CD REISSUE: 2007, Columbia (Japan), COZA-51019 * 2009, Columbia (Japan), COCP-35520


LINEUP: Akira Takasaki - guitar, vocals * Minoru Niihara - vocals * Masayoshi Yamashita - bass * Higuchi Munetaka - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Tusk Of Jaguar * 02 Steal Away * 03 Macula * 04 Ebony Eyes * 05 Wild Boogie Run * 06 Gunshot * 07 Mid Day Hunter * 08 Show Me Something Good * 09 Say What?


Despite utilising his Loudness bandmates for his debut solo venture, this is far from being a Loudness album with Takasaki's name splashed on the cover, as the unique direction Takasaki adopted was removed from the band's traditional heavy metal values of the early 80's, serving up some instrumental genius instead. Takasaki started his career as member of Lazy which was an alleged pop outfit, a factor that led to the creation of Loudness creation and a superb debut, 1981's 'Birthday's Eve'. The instant acclaim awarded to Takasaki's gleaming guitar genius afforded him the opportunity to showcase his skill on a solo setting, that didn't concentrate fully on heavy metal, instead exploring diverse styles ranging from metal to fusion next to bizarre violin and guitar duels in a display of early neo-classical soloing that Yngwie Malmsteen must have been glued to!

The Songs
The title track opens proceedings with a mighty display of instrumental power, fluent guitar solos held at pace, virtuosity at it's finest. To anyone who thinks such instrumental's are tedious this will make a firm believer of you after a minute or so, the heaviness awe inspiring. A quick change of pace as the AOR flavour of 'Steal Away' introduces slick keyboard use and a glorious chorus, while still allowing room naturally for Takasaki to rattle off more speed of light soloing that's even better than what I've read about it in the past. Space rock elements permeate the opening bars of 'Macula (Far From Mother Land)', leading to some emotional and drawn out work from Takasaki that has Blackmore stamped on its passport. Takasaki provides vocals for 'Ebony Eyes' which is identical to that fabulous Heavy Metal Army s/t album, keyboard run metal with galloping riffs aplenty. 'Wild Boogie Run' contains some mystifying arrangements veering from the mentioned violin-guitar workouts to a some distinct country guitar solos mixed with keyboards and offbeat metal runs. Quite unclassifiable. 'Gunshots' is straight forward metal with instances of fusion from Takasaki, and simply exciting, the scope of Takasaki's work unrivalled in it's technique and precision. 'Mid Day Hunter' is similar with more axe work meltdown, 'Show Me Something' instead owing more to AOR once again. This journey is capped off by another superlative instrumental, 'Say What', this time adding a sweaty synth solo to compliment Takasaki.

In Summary
This album is worth acquisition by all means necessary and is readily available on CD. All the hype surrounding Takasaki's guitar work outdoing even Eddie Van Halen isn't without merit. For a largely instrumental album to hold one's attention to this magnitude speaks volumes of the man's talent and in turn is bound to leave those who appreciate such music in amazement. Takasaki has gone on to record a handful more solo albums over the years not appearing however until the mid 90''s which I'm positive meant they lacked the 80's charm of 'Tusk Of Jaguar'. Like Heavy Metal Army a virtual goldmine that shouldn't be passed over, even after twenty four long years. This is guitar players paradise.

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