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Judge The Joker
Released: 2015, The Devil's Own
It is always a nice surprise to get unsolicited albums in the mail, especially if it is a cool and exotic CD from Japan! I must confess my ignorance I was not familiar with Area 51 until now but what a discovery! AREA 51 has been around for a while and they have four full-length studio albums and this latest one is called JUDGE THE JOKER. The band is essentially is the creation of vocalist Kate Cain and guitarist Yoichiro Ishino. Kate is the focal point as she graced all of their album covers, almost like a solo artist.
What immediately caught my eye was that they have hired some bigger name musicians for this album. They recruited keyboardist, Matt Guillory (Zero Hour, James La Brie) and have Mike LePond (Symphony X) on bass and Dirk Vanbeuren (Soilwork) on drums. Despite those great players, what immediately caught my ear was the world class symphonic Power Metal!
AREA 51 Kate has a wonderful voice however she does sing in Japanese. I don’t mind that at all, but I know some people don’t enjoy listening to people song in other languages. She has good range and tone but is not a soprano style singer. The pace of the songs is mid-tempo to fast with several orchestral parts laced in. The tones and production are super clean and there are lots of elegant solos all across the album. It reminds a little bit of Concerto Moon but perhaps a bit more melodic. The choruses are very infectious and I found myself singing along phonetically to the Japanese words that I had no idea what they were!
JUDGE THE JOKER is one of my biggest surprises and discoveries of the year. It’s the least I can do to help share my thoughts about this fine band. Thanks again to the band for sending the Japanese pressing of the new album you have a new fan!
1. The Phantom
2. The Vampire's Agony
3. Over the Rainbow
4. Falsa Luce
5. Call My Name
6. The Devil's Own
8. No More Pain (Why Not Me?)
9. Sang Noir
10. Fly Away from the Flower
11. Save Our Roots
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