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Review: Tokyo Blade - Midnight Rendezvous
Tokyo Blade
Midnight Rendezvous

Label: Combat Records
Year released: 1984
Originally released in: 1983
Duration: 41:18
Tracks: 8
Genre: Heavy Metal

Rating: 3.75/5

Review online: May 10, 2018
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Readers Rating
Midnight Rendezvous

Rated 3.75/5 (75%) (4 Votes)

Tokyo Blade is one of the myriad of NWOBHM bands originating in the early 80s that flashed more than a little talent in the wake of the Iron Maidens and Saxons of the day, put out a number of releases, but never caught on in a big way. They have the distinction of being the first non-major label band I ever got in to as, back in 1984, I bought their debut album, Midnight Rendezvous. That, of course, is the title Combat Records gave it for the U.S. release, it was titled Tokyo Blade when Powerstation released it in Europe in 1983. Not that it really matters but the two versions had the same artwork but different track lineups and a couple of different songs. I digress.

As I said, Tokyo Blade definitely had some talent and wrote a few very catchy tunes. The playing wasn't spectacular, but it was more than competent on cuts like "Powergame" and "Break the Chains." They had the same heavy riffing and commercial sensibilities of the early Saxon albums. It all came together on the band's signature song, "If Heaven is Hell." This song is a true gem of the NWOBHM. It has a smashing chorus, an intricate structure that creates emotional ups and downs, great drumming and wonderful leads. If the Blade could have recreated the magic of this track again, there's no doubt in my mind they would have been picked up by a major label. Unfortunately, the album is dogged by some less than stellar songs like "On Through the Night", "Killer City" and "Liar." To be fair, these songs aren't horrible, just generic, but what really sets them apart is how out of his depth singer Alan Marsh sounds. He struggles mightily with almost every line and it's no surprise he was out of the band after this album (he actually recorded vocals for their second album, Night of the Blade, but was replaced and the new singer rerecorded all the lead vocals). It's actually amazing how well he performs "If Heaven is Hell" compared with how bad he sounds on "Killer City". It's almost like two different guys.

Ah, well, this review is more for me than anything else as, even with all its flaws, Midnight Rendezvous (or Tokyo Blade, depending on which side of the pond you live on) will always have a special place in my heart because I "discovered" it, not my friends, I didn't read about it or hear it on the radio, I discovered it. And I would seriously recommend "If Heaven is Hell" to anyone who likes classic NWOBHM; it is a great song. The rest of the album doesn't quite compare but I don't care.

Other related information on the site
Review: Night of the Blade (reviewed by Hermer Arroyo)
Review: Thousand Men Strong (reviewed by MetalMike)
Interview with Andy Boulton (guitars) on April 9, 2011 (Interviewed by MetalMike)
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