Review Summary: Without a doubt, one of the most impressive albums in Japanese metal history.
Japanese metal was at an all-time high in the 80's. With bands like X-Japan, Loudness, Seikima-II, and Anthem representing the mainstream metal market, there was one band that managed to break into mainstream success, even with a bizarre and highly technical sound. That band is Kinniku Shojo Tai (or King-Show for short). The band was formed by high school students in the early 80's, but then started to become a serious band by the late 80's, and became the talk of the indie scene. And within a few years, were among the top of the Japanese metal scene. In 1988, they released their debut album, "Buddha L", which is arguably their most solid release to date.
When the opener, "Mouretsu Atarou", starts, you are greeted with a piano solo that's chockful full of dramatics, before the song kicks off with the rest of the band. Frontman, Kenji Otsuki, does his trademark shriek-like vocals over a highly powerful instrumentation performed by the band. A highly charged intro, and an outstanding introduction to a classic Japanese metal album. The album then goes into the second track, "Shaka", which is essentially golden-age sounding 80's metal, but with a twist, as Kenji's over-the-top vocals add a superb element to the sound. Also, the solo is noteworthy as well. "Fukumimi no Kodomo" slows things down a little, as Kenji's vocals become a bit more relaxed, but still characteristically strained. An interesting turn in the album.
The album then kicks into the next track, "Orange Ebisu", which is a high-powered, asskicker of a song, with progressive elements, and a piano-fronted sound. The next track, "Kotou no Oni", however, is a song like no other, and is a pretty obscure track. It features a psychedelic-like sound, with a surprisingly tame vocal performance by Kenji. A pretty out there track, but still pretty good. However, the slates are cleared, as the album's most epic moment approaches. The next song, "San Francisco", is a progressive powerhouse of musical excitement. With indescribable vocals by Kenji Otsuki, and a superb musical performance (especially the keyboards), the song is without a doubt one of the most charismatic songs in their career, and perhaps in all of Japanese metal history.
With the hype of that one song, it should be pretty hard to followup. However, the next track, "Itako Love ~Blue Heart~" does a pretty good job of following up, with a really bizarre trippy/hellish sound. Although not as out there as "Kotou no Oni" was, it's still a pretty peculiar listen. The next song, appropriately titled "Norman Bates" is a song centered around kicking and hypnotically trippy sounds. A pretty good standout track. The album then finishes with the epic "Peten Shi Shingetsu no Yoru ni Shisu!", which is a pretty down-tempo track, but still a kicker. A very nice way to close such a fantastic album.
All-in-all, it shouldn't be hard to see why this album is so... well, good. With the unexpected switch-up in each tracks, it makes for one hell of an entertaining listen. Overall, if you are metal fan, pick this up. It is without a doubt one of the most creative and addictive releases in Japanese metal history, and even in 80's metal history.