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Shogun - 1987 31 Days




ARTIST: Shogun
ALBUM: 31 Days
LABEL: Jet
SERIAL: JET LP 248
YEAR: 1987
CD REISSUE: 2012, Steelheart Memories (Italy), SMM 1231

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Alan Marsh - vocals * Danny Gwilym - guitars * Andy Wrighton - bass * Steve Pierce - drums * Ian Marshall - keyboards

TRACK LISTING: 01 Cloak And Dagger * 02 Shock To The Heart * 03 Voices From The Heart * 04 You Are What You Are * 05 Love Is A Game * 06 Cold Truth * 07 If Tomorrow Comes * 08 Can't Live Without Your Love * 09 First Time * 10 Out Of Love Again

WEBLINKS: Shogun Tribute Page


Background
Shogun was formed in 1985 by Alan Marsh (Tokyo Blade) and Danny Gwilym (Chinatown). After leaving Tokyo Blade, Marsh found his footing and a continued respect for Oriental culture with Shogun, who would release 2 albums, and even work with noted producer Bob Ezrin. Shogun's debut was a fair platter featuring some decent songs and the twin guitars of Gwilym and Toby Martin (ex-Marseille). 'Shogun' was shortly followed by the release of a single 'High In The Sky' (not on any release) which got the group exposure on radio and National TV (The Chart Show). 1987 saw the band recruit ex-Tokyo Blade members Andy Wrighton, Steve Pearce and sign to Jet Records before releasing their second album '31 Days'.


The Songs
Perhaps one of the strengths of the band are Marsh's vocals, which are similar to that of Dennis Churchill and at times early Joey Tempest. Things kick off with the excellent 'Cloak And Dagger', which has got a White Sister vibe happening throughout. 'Shock To The Heart' is an AOR delight, imagine 'Slippery When Wet' era Bon Jovi mixed with White Sister's debut. Great stuff. Things slow down for the Bob Ezrin produced ballad 'Voices From The Heart' which kind of meanders a bit but is a decent track overall. The stabbing keys of 'You Are What You Are' gets things back into AOR territory with excellent results-again comparisons akin to White Sister's debut in terms of mixing keys with hard driving guitar. Tantalizing synth flurries set the tone for 'Love Is A Game', an album highlight with an infectious chorus and arrangements. Consistency remains intact for the gorgeous AOR of 'Cold Truth' amidst more stabbing keys and a chorus to die for. 'If Tomorrow Comes' is a very anthemic rocker whereas 'Can't Live Without Your Love'' sort of trudges along until the bridge and solo section where keys once again emanate orgasmic AOR bliss! The final two songs 'First Time' and 'Out Of Love Again' seem out of step with the rest of the bunch, however superior to many bands of this ilk. While maybe not as well produced as Bon Jovi or Europe, Shogun still delivered a potent mix of AOR/melodic rock.


In Summary
Jet released a single, 'Cloak And Dagger' in 7' and 12' red vinyl at the same time. Shogun featured yet another line up change in 1988 with keyboards (Andy Higgins) after the departure of Ian Marshall. Things looked promising with the band landed a support slot on Meatloaf's UK tour and going to Los Angeles to re-mix the ballad 'Voices From The Heart'. However even Bob Ezrin's production couldn't save the single from eventually blowing away like a dry fart. When record company problems befell Shogun, Marsh formed a new group called Mr. Ice. The latter featured two key members from Tokyo Blade, a move from the band's management to resurrect the 'Blade' moniker for a European tour with Uriah Heep led to additional controversy. Some tracks from Mr. Ice were released as a Tokyo Blade record in the mid-1990's. There was a promise for new music and releases by the band, but there has been no sign of a new Shogun or Tokyo Blade recordings since. Andy Boulton went on to join XFX, and is now teaching guitar, whilst Alan Marsh joined the cast of a 'Jack The Ripper' musical. All in all, both Shogun releases are sure to appease rabid AOR/melodic rock fans for sure.


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Comments

#1 | DEMONAOR on July 08 2008 17:58:24
Good Albummusic
#2 | gdazegod on February 12 2011 12:48:44
Shogun - 1987 If Tomorrow Comes
YouTube Video:
#3 | super80boy on May 07 2016 16:11:42
I've always preferred this 2nd offering over their debut, they shed their NWOBHM vibes for a more commercial hard rock sound. A great use of keyboards throughout - there's sweeping keys, like in 'Cloak And Dagger' and pompous stabbing keys, as in 'Shock To The Heart' and 'You Are What You Are'. Big catchy expressive choruses and arena-like melodies galore.
#4 | gdazegod on March 28 2017 21:40:11
Shogun - 1987 Shock To The Heart
YouTube Video:

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