SEPTEMBER 18th 2012
Review by Anka
I had some idea of what to expect from Animetal USA’s album but considering it’s been a while since I listened to any new power metal, I was even more excited to listen to this one. First reaction – big smile, instant head bobbing, anime characters popping up in my mind, humongous bright eyes and all. I don’t know if it’s because of the striking anime soundtrack harmonies or because it felt like one of those cartoon videos where the character’s hand reaches out from the TV and pulls you into the fantasy world where you become a character yourself.
If you are an anime-geek and love some power metal, grab the kids, have a costume party, you have to check out this album, and why not, go ahead and play some air guitar while you’re doing that….Or go slay dragons with the inflatable swords.
Animetal USA is quite a unique heavy metal project based in Japan, some may call it a super-group as it consists of well-known American musicians. The project is a tribute to the Japanese band Animetal who used to play metal covers of anime series songs in the late 90s. I was not familiar with the original Animetal but after checking it out, I get the impression Animetal USA continues the legacy with much success, keeping the same concept but taking the music arrangements one step further.
Band lineup is: Mike Vescera, Chris Impellitteri, Rudy Sarzo and Jon Dette. Apologies, I mean Metal –Rider, Speed King, Storm Bringer, and Tank. Until 2012 their drummer was none other than Scott Travis.
‘Animetal USA W’ is the second album for the anime-inspired band, and it almost exclusively consists of cover songs from popular anime series mostly grouped in medleys, all chosen with the input of their fans. It also includes one original song and a few guest appearances.
Overall these are 11 songs that will not disappoint a power metal fan, you get all the typical fantasy and power elements plus great musicianship. It’s fast, it has plenty of catchy riffs, neo -classical guitar solos and scales, glam-style keyboards in the background, solid, ripping rhythm section - and yet nothing is being overdone! You have extreme melody flowing at all times, only occasionally alternating with heavier and chunkier segments. With powerful, flawless vocals from Mike Vescera (ex- Loudness, Yngwie Malmsteen) you can count on the pro to take it to another level with his high pitched screams, impressive vocal mobility, strong vibratos, at times tempered with playful tone, altogether a complex and confident performance.
The entire album is fast-paced and performed in ‘virtuoso’ mode until you can finally catch your breath during the power ballad ‘Ai Oboete Imasu ka’ (Do You Remember Love?) which is definitely something you should expect to hear on such an album. Don’t get discouraged by the Japanese song titles or lyrics – personally I find Japanese sounds awesome with power metal and probably no other metal genre could pull this off – but songs are predominantly in English so it all works out wonderfully for all listeners.
Songs to remember: Yuzurenai Negai, JAM project Medley, Touch, Hero Medley, Dragon Ball Medley
Definitely give it a try if you like power metal, it’s an easy listen, nicely done, it’s fun and could potentially take you on a trip to Animeland – I wish I could understand more of the anime culture but I am sure it gets really clear for those self-proclaimed anime geeks.