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Reviews » [Review] E.Z.O (Jpn) - Fire Fire (1989)
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  • A Pinnacle of Japanese Glam Metal - 89%

    Ezo were undeniably a part of the glam metal scene in both Japan and the U.S., with a definitive sleazy sound that gravitated towards commercial appeal. They're typically remembered for 1987's E.Z.O which made them the second Japanese metal band to make the American music charts behind Loudness, but the band never ended up catching on in the States and as a result disbanded after the release of Fire Fire.

    Upon hearing this album, multiple reasons this band never made it overseas stand out immediately. Masaki Yamada's English is excellent throughout all songs present on the album partly thanks to good lyricists; and though his pronunciation truly is quite good, his voice is very harsh and is extremely nasally, while their look stands firmly on the metal side of the spectrum (don't go by the Ezo band photo, that was a promo photo from their first album, take a look at Flatbacker's photo for an idea of what they generally looked like when performing) so you won't find any pretty-boys here, and in addition to that, the band's instrumentation is a great deal heavier than that of their peers, making them stick out in the glam metal scene like a battleship at a boat show. You won't find a ballad anywhere in Ezo's discography.

    Lyrical fare for the most part is typical of the era; romance, rocking, and sex, though the band strays from this on a few occasions, such as Black Moon, Night Crawler, or the title-track Fire Fire, which is not only one of my all-time favorite J-metal songs, but possibly the heaviest, darkest song the group released as Ezo, with a theme of apocalyptic despair and the demise of everything both good and evil, finally being equal, and possesses a sinister tone and an excellent riff by Shoyo Iida driving the song forward along with Yamada's great vocal performance.

    Though this album is as much a hard rock album as it is a heavy metal one, it's all bloody heavy as well as ultra catchy. I've been listening to this for years now and its appeal to me has never waned. I'd heard rumors a while back that Shoyo Iida thought poorly of his contributions to Ezo, and if that's the case that would be a real shame, because he's proven himself as a master riff-craftsman here and one of the best things about the album, not to take away from the other members (they even had Anthem/Loudness' drummer, Hirotsugu Homma!), just listen to Back to Zero, Streetwalker, Night Crawler, or Love Junkie and try to resist rocking out to them.

    I don't hear of this album a whole lot in comparison to the band's self-titled one, which is a crying shame. I actually prefer Fire Fire to E.Z.O by a small margin and with Skid Row's recent incredible cover of Fire Fire, I got back into listening to this again full-time having forgotten how good this really was. Fire Fire is quite simply a fun ride the whole way through, and if you appreciate the hard rock and sleazier heavy metal of the 80s, you'll certainly find plenty of enjoyment in this offering, especially considering that (to me) it doesn't have even the slightest bit of a language barrier weighing it down, mind you, by this point I'm a deranged lunatic for Japanese metal and am desensitized to most Engrish if it's present, but back on topic, try Fire Fire, chances are you'll like it.

    Written by TadakatsuH0nda, re-posted from the Metal Archives.
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