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Perception of Reality
January 2002
Released: 2001, Lion Music
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: JP

Some of my colleagues think it is weird I can enjoy melodic bands like Takara just as much as Cannibal Corpse or somebody heavier. That’s OK because a kick ass band like Takara deserves some recognition and appreciation too!

Once again Lion music, rapidly becoming one of the bright lights in the European metal label industry has provided a fantastic little release. I say “little” because it arrived with little fan-fare, no advertising, no hype etc…but it maintains the tradition of high caliber, high quality, hard rock that Takara is known for.

Great packaging, if a little new age for my tastes, butterflies, seascapes, moons, and little floating globes add to an existential feel to the CD done by none other then Derek Riggs! It is gorgeous however.

Some people in the AOR type crowd suggested that Takara could not easily survive the loss of Jeff Scott Soto but his replacement Michael Flatters does an admirable job, a perfect fit, range, some power, smoothness and control, all good elements in a singer for this type of band. Maybe I’m over-analyzing it but I liked his voice, bottom line!

The songs are all excellent high caliber melodic hard rock style songs. They aren’t too wild or frantic but not too smooth and consequently lacking in balls. Guitar solos are solid and competent, but not too shreddy, the drums and bass are along for the ride fitting in quite nicely…in fact everything about this CD is…nice. Maybe too nice. It is short too… 9 songs at under 40 minutes. The song titles are a little dull as are the lyrics, really nothing new, however, they are positive and uplifting in a sense which makes up for the lack of originality.

Takara are a strange thing, an American (!) classy, melodic hard rock band with tons of European feel and after 15 years and 4 great CD’s this under-rated band still survives in a musical environment hostile to this style. It is a testament to their talent, commitment and dedication to making classy, sophisticated hard rock. A recommended buy.
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