SHOW-YA – Showdown [Japan Edition +1] (2021)
The Queens of the Japanese hard rock / metal scene, SHOW-YA, celebrate their 35th anniversary with the release of the new studio album ”Showdown” in this Japanese pressing including a bonus track – in North America and Europe the CD will be out next November 12 via Metalville Records.
With their nationwide hits, TV appearances and Japan’s biggest female band event, which Show-Ya hosts themselves, they are one of the most well-known rock acts in their home country, male or female. Many younger musicians from the Land of the Rising Sun also claim to have been strongly influenced by Show-Ya.
Commemorating their 35th anniversary, ”Showdown” turned out to be a more-or-less back-to-the-roots album with strong ’80s spirit. The new record delivers all elements present in Show-Ya’s career: melodic hard rock, melodic metal, AOR, synths, and more.
The album was produced by Nozomu Wakai, who has been working with Alcatrazz, Ronnie Romero (Rainbow) and Tommy Aldridge in his own band, Destinia. Mastering was done by Jacob Hansen.
The legendary German singer Doro Pesch sang on “Heavy Metal Feminity”, a song about women’s liberty.
The album starts off and the mixture of classic metal & hard rock is kicking through the ears of anyone who decides to have a listen to it. Not only do these girls know how to create powerful music, but it is not even one minute through the first track “Eye to Eye” to be able to come at one important conclusion: some really ‘big metal’ bands could learn a lot from SHOW-YA, as far as general awesomeness is concerned. The production is also spot-on and that can be heard all through the album.
SHOW-YA really do like their 80s-style synths, and you hear that in the second song titled “Never”, a highlight with that catchy feeling from the golden decade and while it isn’t a HEART cover, it sounds a lot like the Wilson sisters circa 1985.
There are some women who are considered the absolute goddesses or amazons of the Metal culture. The number one is probably Lita Ford who once said that she wears her balls on her chest. If somehow it is not Lita Ford… then it should be Doro Pesch. And she is actually to be heard on the third track called “Heavy Metal Feminity”. Of course someone like her would have to be featured on a track with such a title. Be prepared for some quality kicking here.
On ”Tokyo, I Scream” the melodic rock side appears with an almost poppy feel and tons of synths, ”Kiss In The Riot” add more muscle and modernity as well with a sound reminiscent of the current Scandinavian melodic hard rock scene, while ”Wind” is a strong midtempo semi-ballad not far from VIXEN, and another favorite.
Apparently many people in Japan believe in the power of numerology. For instance, the number four is believed to bring bad luck. But number seven is anything but that, and that appears to be the case here, too: the seventh track titled “THUNDER” is probably the best one on this album. There is so much energy in it it would probably bring a broad grin of satisfaction to any Metal fans face. They would appreciate it for sure. This song is amazing from 0:00 to 3:55 and the short breakdown with guitars being cut out, a bit like the intro for Deep Purple’s “Space Truckin’”… this is the best song here, no doubt.
The VIXEN style AOR with nerve appears again on the much ’80s “Hold Me”, the girls try something different with the slow, elaborated “Don’t Runaway” including great pianos and strings. Great one.
More variation appears with the acoustically based “So…” where you can hear Keiko Terada voice is intact. Japanese Bonus Track ”I Am The Storm” is another winner, an uptempo hard rocker with punch, reminiscent of IF ONLY, packing a catchy chorus and ‘that’ synths.
SHOW-YA are in top form in ”Showdown”: their mix of melodic hard rock, classic metal and AOR are effective as ever, with a varied but cohesive songwriting.
There’s a strong rhythm section, great guitar riffs / solos, bass that can be actually heard, clever synths, clean vocals, and contrasts / atmospheres that make it even more exciting. Dreamlike songs next to ones that can get someone who’s just passed out on their feet? Yes, contrasts like that are great.
There’s not female fronted acts out there like SHOW-YA anymore. If you miss that ’80s melodic / rockin’ sound from all-female bands, grab ”Showdown” right now.
Ｗａｒｄ Ｒｅｃｏｒｄｓ Ｉｎｃ 【MUCD ～ 8150】
01 – Eye To Eye
02 – Never
03 – Heavy Metal Feminity (Feat. Doro Pesch)
04 – Tokyo, I Scream
05 – Kiss In The Riot
06 – Wind
07 – Thunder
08 – Hold Me
09 – Don’t Runaway
10 – Rocks
11 – So…
12 – I Am The Storm [Japanese Bonus Track]
Keiko Terada – Vocals
Satomi Senba – Bass
Miki Tsunoda – Drums
Miki “sun-go” Igarashi – Guitars
Miki Nakamura – Keyboards