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.