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Tokyo Blade - Knights Of The Blade album review

NWOBHM’s near miss

There was a period of music in the mid- to late 80s where at least one member of every metal band owned some kind of Japanese ephemera. You couldn’t swing a Hamer guitar without hitting someone in a rising sun T-shirt. Though they’d later start dressing like Dave Lee Roth, Tokyo Blade fitted right in.

Promisingly, 1983’s Tokyo Blade sounded like a fledgling Def Leppard. With the right kind of polish, songs like If Heaven Is Hell could have bought them their own tour bus. Night Of The Blade was more promising still: better songs, better production, and in Lightning Strikes, they’d written a song to finish any set.

Which makes it stranger still that 1985’s Blackhearts & Jaded Spades is so underwhelming. The pallid You Are The Heart is so awful it makes Poison sound profound. This box set (with an extra disc of EPs) charts the rise and fall of an 80s also-ran.