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A Priestesque cover, a Priestesque title, and Priestesque guitar work… it can only be Into the Storm by Japan’s Significant Point.
I’ve forever argued that speed metal is not a genre but an attempt by trve/power metal bands to play a tad faster than they normally would to try and keep up with the young ‘uns, and this certainly seems the case with SP’s first full-length release, which sounds like old school metal played at 200 BPM. Bar the 35 second brooding acoustic intro to Running Alone the high tempo is constant, and the band steams ahead with a glorious gallop. On Night of the Axe, the guitars do an ace job of leading the drums through the melodies and we are treated to some satisfying finger tapping solos. The band play with surgical precision, which is admirable for anyone at this speed, and the call-and-respond guitar work perfected by, yep, Judas Priest, is impeccable and impresses with how comfortably it sits in the well-honed production.
The drumming can be a little cluttered at times and the attempts at soaring falsettos can catch you in the ear as much as your neighbour screaming in the shower when you mess with the water pressure by flushing your toilet. The many attempts at a Rob Halford shriek are, frankly, unpleasant and get tiresome quite quickly, and smack of a singer who hasn’t paid enough attention to the strengths and limitations of his own voice. The solos can drag on a little, but that’s the band playing to their strengths, and if the aforementioned homages to Priest weren’t evidence of their adoration enough, You’ve Got the Power straight up steals the riff from Breaking the Law, which, surely, is breaking… some kind of… err… law?
If you allow yourself one guilty pleasure this month, you’ll not be dissatisfied in choosing to bop along to what SP have to offer, and although it’s been done a million times before, the lads from Tokyo can say they’ve done themselves proud.
Release date: February 7th, 2021
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