4 out of 5 Stars!
Tokyo Blade was a U.K. band that arrived on the scene during the “New Wave Of British Heavy Metal” movement in the ’80s and proved it had not only the musical chops, with its thrilling double-guitar attack, a rollicking rhythm section, and a wide-ranging vocalist, but also the songwriting capabilities to create rather melodic and well-produced Heavy Metal during this period.
Night of the Blade, the band’s second album, is probably its finest achievement—highly appealing, generally consistent and driving, with some truly memorable songs, including the title track, along with “Lightning Strikes (Straight Through the Heart),” “Unleash the Beast,” “Dead of the Night,” “Love Struck,” and the epic Side A closer (and my favorite) “Warrior of the Rising Sun.” In fact, every single track on this release is well above average, including the two “destined to be hits” songs “Rock Me to the Limit” and “Someone to Love.” Even including these two latter songs—the more straightforward and commercial tracks—the group’s music often falls distinctly into a similar realm as Tygers of Pan Tang, Armored Saint, and Loudness, and offers up more than a touch of Thin Lizzy, Iron Maiden, and Judas Priest influences. In other words, the album features piercing guitar leads and raucous riffs throughout, quite plentiful for most Heavy Metal fans.
One warning note, however: my only complaint about this release is its rather short length (less than thirty-five minutes with only eight songs in total), so an additional track or two would have been most welcome.
Unfortunately, as often happens with talented groups like Tokyo Blade—those on the verge of success—the musicians followed the horrible advice of music producers and/or greedy record company executives, altered the band’s focus (and suffered endless lineup changes as a result) and never came close to matching the power of this album on any of its many subsequent, and inconsistent, releases. A shame.
Regardless, Night of the Blade remains an unheralded classic of the “NWOBHM” period.