|Lightning - 'Road To Ninja' (Sonic Revolution)|
|Written by Matt Phelps|
|Saturday, 18 July 2015 03:40|
Lightning have been whipping up a storm in Japan since 2006 and 'Road To Ninja' is the step forward they hope will give them more of a global presence. This latest long playing beast of oriental beats from the power metal five piece certainly lit up my morning like a rising sun. Musically it shoots straight from the speakers to hit you like a pearl necklace and anyone who harbours feelings for fast and furious Dragonforce style modern metal will lap this right up.
A fair few of the songs here date back throughout Lightning's history so we're getting a nice slice of the very best stuff the band has to offer. The brutal 'Soldier Force' from 2011 release 'Justice Strike' and the fantastically titled 'Heavy Metal (Of Destiny)' from the earlier 'Five Rings' album stand shoulder to shoulder like dedicated warriors corralling Lightning's strongest elements into a perfectly honed fighting squad of ten blistering tracks.
Founding member Iron-Chino (not a trouser care instruction) takes care of all the writing here bar 'Stand Alone' which is home to some dedicated lyrics from the pen of Amanda Somerville. That in itself makes for a top moment in my book, especially as it features a special guest performance from Avantasia's Oliver Hartmann to take it that extra mile. Influences from bands like Gamma Ray and Hammerfall can also be found stitched through some of the more melodic choruses that litter the 'Road To Ninja' while guitar solos scream and soar like leather-clad pterodactyls high overhead.
I would say that the production could do with being a tad thicker though. For such powerful music played with passion and energy the sound is a bit of a let down and sounds as weak as paper walls in places. But that aside it's the songs that speak for themselves and they all translate extremely well. Lightning show flashes of brilliance along the 'Road To Ninja', let's hope they can safely make the leap to the next level.