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Articles Home » 2017 Articles » Anthem - 2017 Engraved
Anthem - 2017 Engraved

ARTIST: Anthem
ALBUM: Engraved
LABEL: Universal Japan
YEAR: 2017


LINEUP: Yukio Morikawa - vocals * Akio Shimizu - guitars * Naoto Shibata - bass * Isamu Tamaru - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 The Artery Song * 02 Far Away * 03 Keep Your Spirit Alive * 04 Linkage * 05 Midnight Growl * 06 Reactive Desire * 07 Sacred Trace * 08 Paint Myself * 09 Frozen Fate * 10 Don't Break Away * 11 Engraved



Another year rolls on and Japanese metallers Anthem still keep delivering the goods. We keep checking in on these guys as soon as we know a new album is available. 'Engraved' is their first album since 2014's 'Absolute World', and though the band went through lineup changes (Yukio Morikawa returned on vocals, and drummer Isamu Tamaru would come into the band as a permament replacement for longtime skinsman Hirotsugu Homma), the latest CD is Anthem's continuation of Japanese 80's metal. They don't need to make changes to their sound, as it is unique enough even after 35 years in the biz.

The Songs
Opening track 'The Artery Song' was debuted on YouTube a few weeks back, and even though it was a shortened version, it still contained ample footage of what to expect. Having listened to most/all of Anthem's previous material, I'm enjoying this one a lot more due to the focus on ear-friendly songs. It's not totally full-on aggressive heavy metal as we're used to hearing from these guys. It's throttled back a touch, but the musicianship is still at the top-end. Akio Shimazu's guitar work continues to amaze, a class player whose six-string prowess is essential to the success of the band. 'Far Away' is very cool, while the tempo is increased on 'Keep Your Spirit Alive'. Shimazu pulls out all the pinch harmonics/squealies on 'Linkage', an intense rocker, it's followed by the frantic 'Midnight Growl', bullet-like drum work, and skilled guitar work are features of this track. 'Reactive Desire' is a change of pace and style, whereas 'Sacred Trace' is a change-up instruemental, for fans of neo-classical shred a la Tony MacAlpine. 'Paint Myself' is a foot-stomping anthem (excuse the pun) complete with chugging power riffs. 'Frozen Fate' is rooted in a pure 80's metal style, and for me is one of the highlights on the album. Nearly at the finish line, there is no respite with the staggered arrangement of 'Don't Break Away' being another melodic gem, the album finishing with the high-pressure rockin' of the title-track 'Engraved'.

In Summary
Wow, eleven tracks of Japanese excellence. An absolute professional band who know how to create and deliver masterful heavy metal. Really, these guys would go down a treat in Europe, it's a pity they don't tour often outside their homeland. All the tracks are in the four-minute range, which makes them all the more accessible. 'Engraved' was released in Japan on June 21st, while the band are about to head out on a local Japan tour during the Northern Summer.

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