NWOBHM WEDNESDAY: TOKYO BLADE
When Tokyo Blade formed in 1981 (first as Killer, then Genghis Khan before finally settling on Tokyo Blade) the NWOBHM movement had already been in full swing for a few years. Bands like Saxon, Iron Maiden and Def Leppard had already paved the way and as their 1983 self-titled debut album hit the stores this new band was all set to light the world on fire. With a sound that took the best parts of those three giants and added touches of Praying Mantis and Angel Witch here was a band that was simply straight up heavy metal gold. With their strong first album they should have had the world by the balls. And yet they are another classic example of how you can start out having it all and blow it big time. Of all the NWOBHM bands to emerge from the late 1970s /early 1980s very few had as much potential and then wasted it. The story of Tokyo Blade has been heard before (poor management, line-up changes, trying to be commercial in nature), but it is never pretty. Theirs' is a confusing story and as such I suggest sites like Wikipedia for more information. What is certain is that they had the look, sound and talent to take them to the top. If the band had played their cards right and built of the strength of their debut album there is no doubt in my mind that we would talk about Tokyo Blade in the same way we talk about Saxon, Iron Maiden and the like. I remain curious about Mark's take on them and if he views them in the same light. That first album is a must hear as it is timeless heavy heavy full of melody and madness. Beyond that the music is hit or miss with certain songs and albums better than others. The band is still active with guitarist Andy Boulton being the one constant member. Although it should be noted that in late 2009 two older members rejoined the ranks in the hope of adding new life to this most interesting band. It probably is too late for the band to suddenly become huge as the band has always been more for those in the know. Perhaps though with time Tokyo Blade will get the proper respect for their 1983 album as it is a landmark in the genre.