Atomic Tornado - Tornado Eye

review - 09.03.2007 23:00

Atomic Tornado's first major release.

Tornado Eye is the first major release from power metal band Atomic Tornado after signing with record label Yamaha.

On the first listen, it sounds much like Atomic Tornado's other works, offering all the band's "trademarks" - no dead serious metal, no cliché-dripping power metal lyrics about virgins, dragon slayers and other such fantasy nonsense, but catchy melodies and refrains designed to stay in one's head for hours. The guitar work was flawless and, thanks to the third guitar played by singer Yo-Suke, almost progressive sounding. Bass and drums were just as perfect, but all in all, everything didn't sound that spectacular.

On the second try, the CD had way more to offer: sophisticated songwriting and mind-blowing guitar playing at its best. The "new" guitarist Yu-ya blends in well and also adds some new touches, especially when it comes to the instrumental intro Into The Wind, which was completely written by him. The riffing, which seemed somehow monotone during the first listen, now fits in very well with the whole album's mood. It offers a thread which continues throughout every song. Critics might use the word "uninspired" here, but I'd rather say it's the band's characteristic sound. The album is labelled Atomic Tornado, so Atomic Tornado is what you get.

The lyrics are written partially in English by bassist Hiroyuki, such as those in the rather "European"-sounding neck breaker AN98 or Spiral Illusion. Chikyuu~The Planet Earth~ is the most diverse and perhaps also the best song off Tornado Eye, being their first ballad since Per Amore (2001). Unfortunately, the production quality is not as good as it was for some of their past releases, such as 2005's Tornado Eve. This becomes apparent especially when listening to Power Game, a track featured on both discs, which sounds much cleaner on the previous release.

In conclusion, Atomic Tornado offer a solid, 53 minutes long major debut with some minor flaws, understandable for a debut release, and a lot of instrumentally great songs. Tornado Eye is a good choice for every metal fan, with its mix of thundering double bass, some mid tempo songs, and quiet moments. They have definitely laid the foundation for an even more successful career in the Japanese metal scene with this album.
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