Aldious - Radiant A

review - 09.06.2017 01:01

"Girls' metal" trailblazers Aldious score another first with their debut overseas release.

It’s been ten years since the “girl’s metal” movement began in earnest, and in the decade since, all-female metal bands have become the most commercially viable metal acts in Japan. Despite this fact, no labels with “girls’ metal” bands on their books have seen fit to organise any overseas physical releases. This only changed in March this year when a chance encounter between Aldious drummer Marina and JPU Records head Tom Smith led to the power metal quintet’s fifth opus Radiant A going on sale in UK record stores.

Though originally released in Japan back in December 2015, Radiant A doesn’t feel dated the way a lot contemporary music can nowadays. It certainly makes an outstanding first impression: the opening double whammy of Re:fire and THE END is just the sort of thing great power metal albums are made of. Third track die for you, however, is not. That’s not to say it’s a bad song – it’s not like Re:NO starts squeaking like an idol popster – but it does entail a shift to pop-rock that will likely take many Aldious novices by surprise.

From there, with one or two exceptions, the album meanders back in a heavier direction, although the next indisputably power metal song doesn’t arrive until penultimate number Kachou no Yume. The songs in between occupy a kind of hinterland between rock, metal and pop where heavy metal excess has been carefully weighed against the need for the guitars not to overpower the subdued vocals. The result is some often-jerky tempos where the heavy riffing stops and starts between verses. What’s more, Yoshi and Toki’s guitar solos are the most restrained they’ve ever been.

Given their role in helping the movement break into the mainstream, it’s rather poetic that Aldious should be the first “girls’ metal” band to land an overseas record deal. Let’s just hope newcomers aren’t too confounded by the likes of Imai Miki cover PIECE OF MY WISH to not explore their impressive back catalogue. Perhaps wary of this themselves, JPU’s pressing of Radiant A includes as bonus tracks two live versions of 2013 singles Dominator and White Crow, as if to demonstrate the band’s more orthodox metal roots.

Radiant A is available from JPU Records' online store.
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