Great Metal Albums of 1986: Vow Wow- III


One thing I will never do is to get into any debates or comparisons between Loudness and Vow Wow. True, both bands are Japanese and both play heavy metal but both bands do so in totally different styles and they do it in those styles very well. Another difference is that it appears that while Loudness made it bigger in the US, Vow Wow had better success in the UK. I had never heard of them before I got to these shores and when I did, I was very grateful for doing so.

For some bizarre reason, I never paid notice to their first two albums but I made up for it with their third, simply titled, “III.” It is here where the different styles between the two Japanese giants come into play. Vow Wow use keyboards in their sound and use the keyboards very well. After the belter of an opener in “Go Insane,” the keyboards make themselves known on the second track, “Shot in the Dark.” (It’s nothing like the Ozzy song of the same name.) They keyboards provide a nice little melody before the guitar, bass and drums coming blasting in. Though the chorus of the song is quite melodic and Kyoji Yamamoto lays down a wicked guitar solo.

One song where all the instruments and vocals all come together in unison very well is “Running Wild.” Everyone seems to shine through on this song and I really take notice of the vocals of Genki Hitomi. He proves here just how good of a singer he really is. “Shock Waves” has a really cool piano intro and is the first power ballad on the album. But one song which really stands out is “Nightless City.” It could be said that it’s ten years too late because when I listen to it, I am sure that it could have been a 70s Yes or Emerson, Lake and Palmer progressive rock tune, only much harder rock. It’s scary but in a good way.

“Nightless City” isn’t the only song that has me thinking retro.  The penultimate track, “You Got It Made” could have been a Deep Purple song in their more progressive rock mode. It reminds me a little of “Burn.” However, if you want more hard rocking Deep Purple, then I would suggest, “Doncha Wanna Cum (Hangar 15).” This song reminds me of the DP classic, “Black Knight.” Even Yamamoto’s guitar solo on it smacks of Ritchie Blackmore.

Now before anyone says that Vow Wow were simply Deep Purple wannabees, the rest of the album proves otherwise. “Stay Close Tonight” is a great, in your face, metal tune. Still, the best track on the album is saved for the end. Second power ballad,”Pains of Love” for me is a belter of one. If my Swiss cheese memory hadn’t failed me, it would have made my top 30 power ballads list a few years back. It is the best way to end this album.

Track Listing:

  1. Go Insane
  2. Shot in the Dark
  3. Running Wild
  4. Shock Waves
  5. Doncha Wanna Cum (Hangar 15)
  6. Nightless City
  7. Signs of the Times
  8. Stay Close Tonight
  9. You Go It Made


Vow Wow

Genki Hitomi- vocals

Kyoji- Yamamoto- guitars

Kenji Sano- bass

Rei Atsumi- keyboards

Toshihiro Niimi- drums

Vow Wow proved that Japanese metal wasn’t a token one band nation and that island could contribute some great metal to the world. The album “III” cements it.

Next post: Exodus- Bonded by Blood

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6 Responses to “Great Metal Albums of 1986: Vow Wow- III”

  1. I didn’t know there was a Japanese metal scene.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Heard the name but never explored further. I did buy the Loudness album Thunder In The East.
    Mikey Ladano has been on a huge Loudness kick lately. He’s an expert with their back catalog which should come as no surprise to anyone.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We were all pretty into Vow Wow, back in the day – they did a great cover of Helter Skelter on one of the early LPs.

    Liked by 1 person

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