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Reviews » [Review] Letticia (Jpn) - Midnight Dancer [Single] (1989)
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  • A Little Underwhelming - 65%

    Letticia were a tiny blip on the radar of Japanese metal. One of the hundreds of bands battling it out for success to little avail. I actually first encountered this release in a rarities board I frequent, initially drawn in by the simple but eye catching artwork with the little pink rose and band logo over a black background, and a few years later actually managed to find a copy for my own collection. Another factor that caught my eye was that they're one of the very few metal bands from the Iwate prefecture, meaning they were mostly disconnected from the two main scenes at the time in the Kanto and Kansai regions.

    I'm going to start with the biggest problem with this band and likely the reason they never got anywhere in terms of success is that going by this small sample size given, Letticia are incredibly average. There's absolutely nothing here that sets them apart from any of the bands a few hundred kilometers to the south and west that were struggling to make a name for themselves playing the nightclubs of Japan in the 80s. While this single is certainly not awful, it lacks some major oomph not only in its vocal performance, but instrumentally it's simply not as engaging as the music many of their counterparts were putting out at the time.

    Takao Sato's vocals are quite honestly uninspired and boring. I would describe them as being delivered in a similar fashion to Versailles' Kamijo, especially on Lonely Woman, however unlike Kamijo who I've always enjoyed, Sato doesn't convey even half of his emotion, despite possessing a similar "yawny", vibrato-less style of singing which almost dooms Letticia right off the get go, lacking a charismatic front man to lead the way. Letticia's instrumentals are also fairly average; nobody stands out particularly or shows off anything fancy at any point throughout the single, though everyone definitely pulls their weight.

    This is by no means a complete loss, there are a few notable bright moments, such as Lonely Woman's intro which is actually very catchy, leading into the galloping riff that the song is based around, with another decent buildup immediately before the guitar solo that sounds quite a bit like the intro to More by Earthshaker. Letticia also included a keyboardist which they're way better off with than without as Toshiaki Nakamura actually adds quite a bit of depth to the music, and even has a Hellen-esque keyboard solo dueling with Tohru Chiba's guitar on Midnight Dancer.

    Letticia feels like a little bit like a slower, and collectively less skilled version of their countrymen Hellen, especially thanks to the keyboards, but even so there's enjoyment to be found, and to tell the truth, if you can find a physical copy of this one, it won't run you a crazy amount of money and looks great on a collector's shelf. All in all, this is a half-decent little single, there are way better options out there if you're just getting into Japanese metal, but if you're already familiar with the Japanese scene, it wouldn't hurt to give Midnight Dancer a shot.

    Written by TadakatsuH0nda, re-posted from the Metal Archives.
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