Prosthetic Records recently re-issued famed guitarist Marty Friedman’s 2009 and 2011 records, Tokyo Jukebox I and II in a double disc set for his fans. The recent release marked the first time that these two albums had ever been released stateside. Fans know of Friedman’s work with the likes of Megadeth. But how many know of his abilities on his own? That question is answered loud and clear with this recently released double disc set. The aptly titled album presents quite a bit of material that sounds like it came right from a Japanese Anime feature film. Though, it does also offer heavier material such as its relentless opener, ‘Tsume Tsume Tsume.’ What’s so interesting about this song is that rather than just being one song, it actually splits itself into two separate movements within its near five and a half minute run time. It goes from being a thrashing, speed metal opus to a slower, heavier work that will leave listeners breathless by the song’s end before moving into the first of the album’s more anime favoring songs in ‘Gift.’
‘Gift’ sounds just like a work that could have come right out of the likes of Dragonball Z or a similar anime work. Any listener who has any knowledge of Japanese features will be able to hear it, too. Even those who are less initiated into the world of anime will be able to hear it simply by closing their eyes and taking in the song. The album continues in this fashion in the album’s next handful of songs before finally leaning more towards a mainstream sound in the much more subdued acoustic song, ‘Romance No Kamisama.’ Friedman truly shows his talents here proving that just as he can shred with the best of the industry’s guitarists, he can play just as amazingly with a slower song. As the old adage states, anyone can play fast. But it takes a true musician to be able to play slow. That being the case, Friedman shows here that he definitely is a true musician. The addition of some very gentle piano runs and what sounds like a flute add so much more emotion to the song right up to its fading final moments.
The second half of Tokyo Jukebox Vol. 1 & 2 movies back in the direction of Friedman’s heavier side through all five of its tracks. The opener, ‘Yeah! Mecha Holiday’ does lean more toward the vein of something from an anime feature. But it somehow manages to walk the line, balancing that side of the music with a more mainstream sound. Even more interesting about the song is the guitar break late in the song. Instead of being metal, Friedman tosses in his own take on a jazz/fusion sound, believe it or not. It really makes for an interesting listen.
Just as much of an interesting listen is Friedman’s take on Pachelbel’s Canon in D in ‘Canon A La Koto.’ The introduction of an Asian element and Friedman’s guitar work makes this a piece that would amaze even the members of Trans-Siberian Orchestra. It doesn’t even run a full two minutes. It comes up just shy of that. But in that time, it proves to be one of the shining gems of this combo release as does the powerhouse ballad style song that follows, ‘I Love You.’ Friedman expertly captures the emotion of someone newly in the bonds of love in this opus. To make another comparison, anyone who is familiar with Dream Theater guitarist John Petrucci will appreciate this song as the similarity to Petrucci’s guitar work is evident here. It makes for yet another high point to an album that is one of the best examples to date of Marty Friedman’s talents. Tokyo Jukebox Vol. 1 & 2 is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered online direct via the Prosthetic Records store at http://www.indiemerch.com/prostheticrecords/item/16661.
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