|Review: Onmyo-za - Maou Taiten|
Label: King Records
Year released: 2007
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: April 4, 2008
Reviewed by: Nicholas Lazarus
Rated 3.88/5 (77.5%) (16 Votes)
Onmyo-za play a style of Heavy Metal recalling European acts, but only as a framework. Upon this framework are built very Japanese melodies and tones. Especially with all Japanese lyrics, which is rare to hear.
Better yet: a female vocalist of exceptional range and skills, a sweet variety in songs ranging from traditional Heavy Metal to Thrash, and the addition of some intangible elements that scream "Japanese". Top this all of with damn near perfect production and all around talent on the instruments; and I do believe you have yourself a winner.
Onmyo-za have both a male and a female vocalist, who are both very capable. Again, the female vocalist is especially pleasant to listen to. There is also use of some harsh vocals, which unlike most band who don't specialize in harsh vocals, sound great. Very well placed in the music, as well.
The guitar playing is very educated, and they show they've studied under the masters of Heavy Metal. The solos completely rip. The riffs show much competence, packing both the punches and nuances you need in quality Heavy or Power Metal. The guitar playing is all around phenomenal. A nice balance of both melodic riffs and riffs that put the "heavy" in Heavy Metal.
What is this I hear? A bass! The band is rounded out by a talented bassist that won't just go unnoticed in the music, and a drummer who adds a lot of flavor as well.
The Japanese undertones are almost constant, but in places, like a certain riff in "Maou", there are very pronounced overtones, with the riff clearly using a pentatonic sequence. There is a solo, then a part that sounds like it's out of Kabuki theater. Speaking of which, a perfect example of the variety offered by this album: the following riff is totally old school Thrash! I don't know how they make these styles blend so nicely, but they do it and make it seem easy.
This album has certainly left me very eager to hear more from this band. What a refreshing gem. Wonderfully written, and powerful, with a unique flair. Japanese Heavy/Power Metal at its finest!
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