Tokyo Blade: Thousand Men Strong

Having another stab at fame.

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And so, at a remove of some 13 years, comes a new studio record from Tokyo Blade, near-miss titans of the NWOBHM now reconstituted around the core of early 80s originals guitarists Andy Boulton and John Wiggins and rhythm section Andy Wrighton and Steve Pierce, plus new shrieker Nicolaj Ruhnow.

The TB story is one of record company disasters and might-have-beens. They have always been a turbulent entity – their nine previous records have featured an astonishing 24 ex-members, and Ruhnow is their eighth vocalist.

Their sound is perhaps their one constant; Thousand Men Strong could easily have been cut in 1983. It is both a strength and a weakness.

As examples of genre, Black Abyss, Forged In Hell’s Fire and Killing Rays are perfect, and yet what they and the other seven songs on the record lack are those moments of inspiration that separated Iron Maiden and Saxon from Tokyo Blade in the first place.

Jon Hotten

Jon Hotten is an English author and journalist. He is best known for the books Muscle: A Writer's Trip Through a Sport with No Boundaries and The Years of the Locust. In June 2015 he published a novel, My Life And The Beautiful Music (Cape), based on his time in LA in the late 80s reporting on the heavy metal scene. He was a contributor to Kerrang! magazine from 1987–92 and currently contributes to Classic Rock. Hotten is the author of the popular cricket blog, The Old Batsman, and since February 2013 is a frequent contributor to The Cordon cricket blog at Cricinfo. His most recent book, Bat, Ball & Field, was published in 2022.