Gravity - Realized 4/5
2. Cry of nature
4. Fight and defend
Gravity is another reminder to me that sometimes the best bands are the ones that are unknown to the many fans they would appeal to. This Japanese melodic power metal band was formed way back in 1996, and although they really didn't get rolling until this decade, they've already released 2 CDs - 2003's 'Destiny's calling' and this 2nd CD ('Realized') was released in 2006. Both CDs are self-released however, so I struggled to find them for a long time, until I established contact with the band and they were kind enough to send me both of their CDs, which I'm extremely grateful for.
Surprisingly, this 6-member band has maintained the same line-up for many years, consisting of 2 guitarists (Hideki Toyokawa and Tatsuhiko Sasaki), bassist Takashi Mochizuki, keyboardist Yuichi Sugimoto, drummer Tatsuya Kuwana and vocalist Hideaki Hashiba. As you would expect, Hideaki has quite an accent, but he's not extremely high-pitched and the more I listen to his clear and mid-ranged voice, the more I like him. While some Japanese bands choose to sing in their native tongue, both of Gravity's CDs are sung in English, and although Hideaki's pronunciation seems a bit limited, overall I think he does a good job with his vocals, though I will say that he sounds better on 'Realized' than he does on 'Destiny's calling'. So even though he's already a good vocalist, he's improving.
By far, the best aspect of Gravity is their guitar duo - Hideki and Tatsuhiko. These guys are simply fantastic, providing quick and catchy rhythms, excellent and melodic lead guitar work, and some blazing guitar solos. In addition, Yuichi's keys are perfectly intermixed, and while they're mostly in the background, he provides some outstanding solos that definitely highlight some of the songs. Thankfully, both of Gravity's CDs are fast-paced, with exception of some short slow/atmospheric instrumentals. Track 1 "Flood" and track 5 "Enforce" are the 2 on 'Realized', so the rest of the songs are full of speed and the CD is very exciting.
For comparisons, Gravity is similar to Concerto Moon, Galneryus, Seven Seas, Double Dealer, Knights of Round, Ark Storm, X Japan, Black Masquerade and Atomic Tornado, but Gravity doesn't have as many of the neo-classical flurries that some of these other bands do. Still, if you're into any of these bands, you'll dig Gravity. What's interesting to me however, is that numerous times while listening to Gravity I'm reminded of some of the Italian bands, including Soulblaze, Projecto, Heavenblast, Sigma, Morgana, Athlatis, Infinity, Windrow, Shining Fury, Shadows of Steel, Etherna and so on. Really, Gravity overall kinda sits in between the typical Japanese power metal mold and the typical Italian power metal mold.
After spinning both of Gravity's CDs for several weeks, it has stood out to me that the debut is solid, but this CD is certainly the best, and one that I can call excellent. Improvement over time is normal amongst most bands of course, so perhaps their 3rd CD will be even better. In the meantime, the one suggestion I want to pass on to the band is to provide a longer CD. Just like all of Seven Seas' CDs, both of Gravity's CDs are under 30 minutes, with 'Realized' having a running time of just over 25 minutes. I'm greatly impressed by the band and I'm positive that they can provide a longer CD, and still maintain their level of quality and excitement. Only time will tell if this suggestion has an affect, but one thing's for sure, these guys are one of the better Japanese power metal bands out there right now.
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