BOW WOW – Charge [Rock Candy remastered]
Some time ago Rock Candy Records started a especially numbered ‘JPCANDY’ series focused on the remastered reissue of Japanese bands / albums. “Charge” is the third record from BOW WOW, a pioneer hard rock / metal Japanese act.
For many Bow Wow’s best album ever, this is the first time that “Charge” is being released outside Asia.
“Charge” was Bow Wow’s third album and showcased a more solid, and in some ways a much more refined approach to the band’s evolving sound. This new album rather cleverly fused intense hard rock riffing with a sense of mature drama, which suggested Bow Wow were not just a one dimensional beast.
This aptly titled epic features more of the hard-hitting heavy metal that made the first two albums ones to appreciate. While a step down in terms of heaviness, it manages to mold both hard rock and traditional metal together.
The self-titled debut cruised with joy, the sophomore tore fans up, and this one gives the best of both.
Guitarist & vocalist Kyoji Yamamoto is the main songwriter for the band, and has grown considerably here, even though it doesn’t sound like a whole lot has changed.
The songwriting still consists of the usual short rockers, a soft track or two, and a track that conjures some epicness.
Kicking off with ‘Jet Jive’ this is all about rock ‘n roll. Kyoji’s accent makes the parts sung in English to be a bit amusing at first, but at least the man is trying and putting a lot of energy into the performance. With stuff like ‘Jet Jive’ he’s pretty nasal, unlike ‘Sister Soul’ and ‘Rock And Roll Kid’ where the vocals are low cleans; most of the album takes this approach, too.
‘Fallen Leaves’ is the separate ballad, but even then Kyoji has focused, poignant, thick cleans lead vocals. One thing’s for sure, you won’t feel intimidated by his singing… except on ‘Must Say Adieu’ which is the longest, heaviest, and one of the best songs on the album.
It’s the epic number where the riff blasts things off, and Kyoji does grunts, warbles, wails, screams, and shouts with his roughest performance yet. His guitar alongside Mitsuhiro Saito blaze through with dual riffs tearing the place up into a festive fire, and then it breaks into one of the best bridges I’ve ever heard in heavy metal.
For those looking into Bow Wow’s career, “Charge” is considered the best starting point, but even then you might as well just start at the beginning. This 3rd album makes the debut sound years away, even though the hard rock / traditional metal style has barely changed at all.
A not easy to find, fine remastered reissue by Rock Candy.
01 – Jet Jive
02 – Must Say “Adieu”
03 – Blue Eyed Lady
04 – The Clown
05 – Rock And Roll Kid
06 – Fallen Leaves
07 – Heavy
08 – Sister Soul
09 – Behind The Mask
Kyoji Yamamoto — lead guitar, lead vocals, percussion
Mitsuhiro Saito — guitar, lead vocals
Kenji Sano — bass, vocals
Toshihiro Nimi — drums, percussion, vocals