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Tokyo Blade Guitarist Andy Boulton Discusses New "Dark Revolution," Pandemic And More

As was stated recently in the introduction to the Desolation Angels interview, the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal gave the world some of the greatest cult favourites in the history of the genre. From Venom to Raven, Tank to Cloven Hoof, there are plenty of bands that inspired a loyal following. Another of these bands was Wiltshire's own, Tokyo Blade.

Since forming in 1979, the band has played with both melody and ferocity, crafting some excellent heavy metal over forty one years, especially their self-titled debut and superb sophomore effort, "Night of the Blade." Now in 2020, the band has another solid slab of steel in the form of "Dark Revolution," showcasing perhaps the best lineup Tokyo Blade has ever had. I had the pleasure of putting some questions to guitarist and driving force Andy Boulton about the album and more this week, who had some very interesting things to say.

Diamond Oz: Congratulations on your new album, "Dark Revolution." This is the first time since the eighties that the band has released two albums in the space of two years. What is it about this lineup that you feel gives you so much momentum?

Andy Boulton: Basically the momentum part is easy as I’m a createaholic! I’m happiest when I’m creating new things and that’s always been the case. The problem with doing albums in the past is funding the bloody things. Studio time is expensive and record deals are few and far between. Deals where the company will actually pay anything towards the cost of the album is also rarity these days. Luckily I have had my own home studio for some years, the problem was having the confidence to make a commercial release. However as most of "Unbroken" our previous album was recorded at my home studio, owing to things not working out so well at the studio in France, Alan suggested that we do the whole thing here and he gave me the confidence to go for it.

Oz: What are some of the most prominent themes on the record?

Andy: Anger and Frustration. Alan writes all the lyrics and always has done and Alan and I share the same views on a lot of issues so the album themes are often quite political and social. We aren’t covering any new ground here and there’s people that don't listen to the lyrics anyway sadly. Take the title track “Dark Revolution” for example. It’s a reference to the destruction of the planet, largely engineered by major corporations to line the pockets of their CEOs and shareholders. Of course the elephant in the room is the fact that there are too many people on the planet, it’s a simple as that and with the disposable culture that our species has so readily adopted and a finite resources available it doesn't paint a very pretty picture. Other issues would be the disparity between the rich and the poor.

One of the greatest lyricists ever is Justin Currie from Del Amitri "And computer terminals report some gains On the values of copper and tin, While American businessmen snap up Van Goghs For the price of a hospital wing," from the Del Amitri song “Nothing Ever Happens” sums it up concisely.

Oz: How does "Dark Revolution" compare to "Unbroken"?

Andy: Angrier certainly. Personally I think it’s a more powerful record. We felt the mix on "Unbroken" lacked punch, it was a great mix and we were very pleased with the album, we just felt it needed more clout. Also this album is more aggressive and heavier, but Alan always write such great melodies and hooks so I describe it is kind of “memorable metal.” (laughs)

Oz: The artwork for the record seems very simple but to the point. Do you feel it's an accurate representation of the music?

Andy: I think so. Possibly it’s a more aggressive look than the actual music but it’s very difficult to analyse ones own work, particularly when you’re like me at the minute you finish something you’re onto the next thing for example we are already about 12 tracks into the next album. Who knows how much time I have left to create and play music so I need to pull my winkle out as my Nan used to say and I don’t sleep much!

Oz: At the moment the album doesn't seem to have any presence on YouTube. Are there plans to release a music or lyric video?

Andy: Funnily enough I am working on that at the moment, one of the few bonuses of being furloughed. So stay tuned they are coming hopefully within the next couple of weeks.

Oz: This marks your first release through Dissonance Productions. How has the relationship with the label been so far?

Andy: Really great so far we are looking forward to a long and successful relationship with the label. Everyone that I’ve met from the label has been very friendly and positive whilst being realistic. I appreciate honesty especially as Tokyo Blade has had very little experience of it with some of the labels we’ve been signed to.

Oz: How difficult has it been to promote the album during the current pandemic?

Andy: In many ways it’s been easier than normal as being at home all the time gives me the time required to do interviews create videos et cetera. Of course the biggest problem is that we can’t gig at the moment which is a bummer for everyone especially the fans.

Oz: Once a semblance of normality returns, what places are you looking at performing in? Will the band be coming across the pond to the United States and Canada?

Andy: Well, we are happy to go wherever we‘re wanted so we wouldn’t rule out anything. There are few countries that we haven’t performed in and let’s hope things get back to normal quickly so we can see our fans once again in person.

Oz: Thank you very much for speaking to me and I wish you every success for "Dark Revolution."

Andy: Many thanks Oliver and on a personal note to you and our fans please stay safe and keep well we love you all.

"Dark Revolution" is available to buy now via Dissonance Productions.

Diamond Oz's avatar

Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com since 2007 and a metal fan since 2001, going as far as to travel to other countries and continents for metal gigs.

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