"Give Me the Fear" (Escapi; 2005)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Tokyo Dragons is unapologetic old school hard rock/heavy metal. It's simple, guitar-driven rock with one goal in mind: having fun.

Since Tokyo Dragons is old school, I thought I'd use an old school analogy to describe the band's sound. Remember the four KISS solo albums? Okay, some of you may not: Back in 1978, KISS did something that no other band had done at the time: the four members of the band released simultaneous solo albums. All were undeniably KISS albums, but -- like the bandmembers -- each had its own personality. Paul Stanley's record was a hard-rocking collection of love anthems and ballads; Gene Simmons' was a display of how he could stretch beyond the simple chord rock of KISS; Peter Criss' was a rollicking compilation of vintage-sounding tunes and the ballads Peter did so well. And Ace Frehley's album was balls-out, no prisoners taken rock'n'roll, a searing combination of punk and hard rock.

Why all the talk about KISS solo albums? Because that's what Tokyo Dragons' "Give Me the Fear" reminds me of most. It's a vintage hard rock'n'roll record which, overall, comes closer to Ace Frehley's balls-out approach, but which is also reminiscent of the sound and era that the four KISS albums define.

Joining the ranks of many other bands who are re-discovering the classic hard rock sound, Tokyo Dragons are pretty good at what they do. They're not quite the songwriters that KISS was -- none of the songs on the CD have the instant attraction of, say, Frehley's "Rip It Out" or Stanley's "Tonight You Belong to Me"  -- but they're not bad either, with the songs having enough hooks and guitar drive to hold your interest.

Fans of the classic hard rock sound should definitely add Tokyo Dragons to their must-hear list.

Tokyo Dragons: Steve Lomax - guitar/vocals; Mal Bruk - guitar/vocals; Mathias Stady bass; Phil Martini - drums/vocals.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2005 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 28 Aug 2022 14:16:30 -0400.