TOKYO BLADE – Blackhearts & Jaded Spades [Japanese Deluxe Edition remastered] (2016)

TOKYO BLADE - Blackhearts & Jaded Spades [Japanese Deluxe Edition remastered] (2016) full

As requested, here’s “Blackhearts & Jaded Spades” the final release from the Japan-only remastered 3-album reissue series of TOKYO BLADE. Features 24 bit new remastering and cardboard sleeve packaging with OBI & inserts. As bonus tracks you have the entire, rare ‘Undercover Honeymoon’ 12″ EP.

“Black Hearts & Jaded Spades” is the third album by English cult hard rockers Tokyo Blade. It was originally released in 1985 on Tokyo Blade own record label and in the same year re-released all over Europe by SPV / Steamhammer.
New singer with a much more melodious style, the keyboard-laden compositions of this album and the strongly American guitar sound, marks the complete detachment of the band from their New Wave Of British Heavy Metal roots.
It was interpreted as an attempt to conquer the American and Japanese markets, where glam and pop metal acts dominated the charts (take a look ath the back cover photo).

So, accordingly to times, appeared in 1985, “Blackhearts & Jaded Spades” is a product of the era with Tokyo Blade – as happened with other NWOBHM child, Tygers Of Pang Tang – turned commercial and accessible.
Not only here’s the band’s first power ballad, ‘You are the Heart’ where a keyboards tinkle and chime supports Boulton’s sympathetic solos and a heartfelt chorus presided over by singer Vicki James Wright’s (seems plain ‘ol Vic Wright wasn’t sensually proper enough) gentler side.

And then ‘Dancing in Blue Moonlight’ is straight AOR: a midtempo almost all keyboard-driven tune with very few clean guitars and an FM radio orientation.
‘Make it through the Night’ is very catchy with a Def Leppard sound around the era with synth stabs during the chorus, while on ‘Always’ Tokyo Blade sounds like the English version of Quiet Riot.

TOKYO BLADE - Blackhearts & Jaded Spades [Japanese Deluxe Edition remastered] (2016) sleeve

The stylized midtempo melodic hard rock of ‘Playroom of poison Dreams’ brings to mind Bronz, and ‘Undercover Honeymoon’ rocks with US glammy riffs.
For some Tokyo Blade’s early style check the title track ‘Blackhearts and Jaded Spades’ with its uptempo rhythm and a great Accept-like chorus, the punchy opener ‘Dirty Faced Angels’, and the meaty ‘Tough Guys Tumble’, which anyway is a middle road mainstream hard rocker akin Dokken with straight n’ narrow dual guitars and some clear-eyed bass fanfare via Andy Wrighton.

As bonus tracks you’ll find the complete “Undercover Honeymoon EP”, featuring quite different versions of ‘Undercover Honeymoon’ & ‘Playroom of Poison Dreams’, and the non-album tracks ‘Stealing the Thief’ and ‘Bottom end’.
‘Stealing the Thief’ is pure early Tokyo Blade, so if you like their hard n’ heavy style this bonus track is for your collection of rarities.

TOKYO BLADE - Blackhearts & Jaded Spades [Japanese Deluxe Edition remastered] (2016) back

Tokyo Blade’s “Blackhearts & Jaded Spades” is a quite unknown album among classic hard rock / melodic fans.
It has something for everyone ranging from a couple AOR tunes, melodic hard rockers and a bunch of muscular, hard n’ heavy numbers. The only thing I do not like about it is the horrible cover artwork.
“Blackhearts & Jaded Spades” is an album that needed a proper remaster, and now all instruments sound clearer, defined.
Highly Recommended

You’ve seen it first here, at 0dayrox


01 – Dirty faced angels
02 – Make it through the night
03 – Always
04 – Lovin’ you is an easy thing to do
05 – Undercover honeymoon
06 – You are the heart
07 – Blackhearts and jaded spades
08 – Tough guys tumble
09 – Dancing in blue moonlight
10 – Playroom of poison dreams
11 – Monkey’s blood
BONUS TRACKS: “Undercover Honeymoon EP”
12 – Undercover honeymoon (Remix)
13 – Stealing the thief
14 – Playroom of poison dreams (Remix)
15 – Bottom end

Vicki James Wright – lead vocals, harmonica
Andy Boulton – guitar, backing vocals
John Wiggins – guitar
Andy Wrighton – bass, backing vocals
Steve Pierce – drums
Nick Coler – keyboards


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