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Reviews » [Review] Blaze (Jpn) - The Rock Dinosaur [EP] (2014)
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  • As Entertaining as Ever - 85%

    It was creeping closer and closer to a decade before Blaze finally released new material, just under seven years to be precise, but though Blaze releases material on an incredibly sporadic basis, their music continues to sound as good as ever. A large time gap between releases is more than enough time for a small band to lose every bit of momentum they might build off of a solid release, and either commercialize, or give up on the project and disband, especially within a gap of seven years. In this case however, Blaze stayed the course and came out just as good if not a better band than before, and their latest release The Rock Dinosaur can attest to that.

    The Rock Dinosaur offers much of the same influence driven heavy metal brimming with energy which the band became known for on their debut album, but it's also noticeably faster paced and heavier than the previous release. This EP gives a definitive glimpse into the direction the band is going, opting to be a heavy metal band more than hard rock group, as the songs here are significantly more metallic than the band's previous offerings, with high speed melodies achieved through Hisashi Suzuki's considerable skills demonstrated on songs such as Underground Heroes or Shed Light On Dark which has a definite Blackmore feel to it's riffs. Another change is the now quicker, more aggressive drumming by the band's newest member Takashi "Bikky" Funabiki in addition to angrier, more enthusiastic vocals by Wataru Shiota.

    While Blaze has always shown clearly who their influences are and have proudly incorporated those influences into their songs, their biggest and most prominent influence by a long shot is Scorpions, and while this isn't by any means a bad thing, (a positive being that you can hear distinctly Uli Jon Roth and Michael Schenker inspired riffs all over the place, and they're very well done too) Blaze does have a tendency to shall we say... over-Scorpionize some of their songs with Lady Of Starlight being the latest example (And a little bit on One Way Flight). I would personally love to see Blaze venture outside of their Scorpions love affair more often than they tend to, and bring one of their many other influences to the forefront as they did on the second track; Shed Light On Dark. Doing this adds diversity to their albums and prevents things from feeling too routine, not that The Rock Dinosaur ever reaches that point.

    In the long run, Blaze are as fun as ever on this EP. Seven years later and they've not only refined the talents they already displayed on their full-length, but they built on it deciding to take the band in a heavier and faster paced direction while managing to showcase a few more of their favorite classic bands' styles too. Blaze has a very bright future, and while The Rock Dinosaur doesn't quite reach the same heights as their full length, it still displays the band's talents in full, and contains some killer tracks too. I highly recommend checking this EP out if you enjoyed the full-length, both are very fun releases and honestly are nearly identical in quality, however I personally liked the full length just a tiny bit more. I greatly anticipate this excellent band's next release, I just hope I don't have to wait another seven years for it to arrive.

    Written by TadakatsuH0nda, re-posted from the Metal Archives.
    Minor edits Feb 10, 2015.
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