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Gaisen March - Big march 4/5

Reviewed: 4-24-09


1. Intro for battle
2. March of the fighting spirit
3. Big march
4. The fighting one
5. Fight again
6. The immortal bird
7. Sunset
8. Brave new world
9. March of blast
10. Gaisen March

Gaisen March is a Japanese band, but their full-length debut 'Big march' is unlike anything I've ever heard from Japan. Staying away from the typical mold of fast-paced power metal with neo-classical elements, they instead lie within the realms of true metal, with moments of epic metal and even doom.

Comparisons stood out immediately, and they are Wizard, Icy Steel, Domine, Wotan, Holy Martyr, certainly Manilla Road, Running Wild, Manowar and Majesty, Sabaton at times (without the keys), but the bands that first came to mind are Battleroar, Doomsword, Elwing and Ironsword. I realize this is the group of bands that my colleagues usually cover, but I do have my share of true metal and from what I've heard over the years, 'Big march' is one of the better CDs of this ilk.

As you may or may not have expected, vocalist Masatoshi Saitoh has a fairly gruff voice comparable to the vocalists from the many aforementioned bands, so he's not at all comparable to the numerous high-pitched vocalists that usually come out of Japan. Like I said, this is my first experience with a Japanese band of this kind, and what makes this even more unique (as far as Japanese bands) is that it's a Japanese-language CD, so I've translated the tracklist.

The CD has a thundering beginning, as all of the songs up to track 5 "Fight again" offer up a mix of speed, stomping rhythms, and excellent guitar solos that remind me of Ironsword. Track 6 "The immortal bird" and track 7 "Sunset" are more along the lines of lengthy and doomy songs, but the CD picks back up with track 8 "Brave new world" and never loses steam, all the way through to the closer "Gaisen March". The 2 lengthy/doomy songs in the middle (mentioned) are my least favorite songs, but I even like those.

The truth is, this CD has hit me very hard and it's highly recommended to those who love true/epic/doom metal, regardless of the fact that it's a Japanese-language CD. Seriously, it's a monster!




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