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Anthem - 1987 Bound To Break




ARTIST: Anthem
ALBUM: Bound To Break
LABEL: Medusa (USA), King (Japan)
SERIAL: 72202-2, K32Y 2063
YEAR: 1987
CD REISSUE: 2010, King (Japan), KICS-91174 (25th Anniv edition)

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Eizo Sakamoto - vocals * Hiroyo Fakuda - guitars * Naoto Shibata - bass * Takamasa Ohuchi - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Bound To Break * 02 Empty Eyes * 03 Show Must Go On * 04 Rock N Roll Survivor * 05 Soldiers * 06 Limited Eyes * 07 Machine Maid Dog * 08 No More Night * 09 Head Strong * 10 Fire 'N The Sword


Background
A few weeks ago, Alun wrote a review on Japanese band Anthem. Since then, I have been chasing down their albums, and caught up with this one, their fourth from 1987 called 'Bound To Break'. The formula they present is pretty much the same as they did on 'No Smoke Without Fire', though original lead singer Eizo Sakamoto had departed (in 1988) to be replaced by Yukio Morikawa. British producer Chris Tsangirides calls the shots on 'Bound To Break', giving them an American hair metal sheen, whilst retaining the attributes that makes Anthem inherently Japanese. Mostly the album is sung in their native tongue, with English insertions when it comes to chorus time, though there are a few tracks with significant English parts. The obvious comparison to Loudness is going to be made, and they sit admirably alongside their countrymen when it comes to propping up the cause for Japanese metal.


The Songs
The band lead off with the storming title track, similar to Americans Lion in style and polish.. brilliant stuff. Drummer Takamasa Ohuchi drives the band hard on the Maidenesque sounding 'Empty Eyes', whereas 'Show Must Go On' has a early Dokken sound shining through. The metronome ticks hard on 'Rock N Roll Survivor', it's followed by the galloping romp that is 'Soldiers', again Iron Maiden is the reference point. There's a short respite with the brief instrumental 'Limited Lights' which segues directly into the silly named but excellently delivered 'Machine Made Dog', ironically next to the title track, is one of the best tracks here. There's more speed oriented melodic metal with 'No More Night', but things are bought back into the hard rock fold with 'Headstrong', a classy offering indeed. The final track 'Fire N The Sword' features a flurry of solos and manly musicianship, all in keeping with the song title and genre.


In Summary
The band were prolific releasers of albums during this phase, with full album releases plus a live album released every year through to 1990, with three albums released in 1992 alone! The band are still in operation, and have numerous 'Best Of' albums released along the way. It's obvious that Japanese record labels know a thing or two about making money. Check out a few of their albums, but certainly 'Bound To Break', 'Gypsy Ways', 'Hunting Time' and 'No Smoke Without Fire' should be on your wants list.


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Comments

#1 | jeffduran on December 03 2008 23:00:23
Loudness, Vow Wow and Anthem were always my favorite bands as a teenager (Japanese or not). Became really into these cats around 1987 when 'Tightrope Dancer' came out in the states. Saw them on this tour in Los Angeles and it was amazing. 'Show Must Go On' and 'Machine Made Dog' are melodic metal classics!

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