Japan loves their heavy metal, in many forms. They definitely dig melodic and heavy power metal, especially from South America and the European theater. It's no wonder that Brazilian power metal band Hibria chose to record their first live album in Tokyo, after all they are on Japan's King Records as well.
Hibria: The Shelter's on Fire from the live DVD.
From the start, I'll tell you this is my first experience with Hibria, and I'm rather impressed. But first some details about Blinded By Tokyo - Live in Japan. It's a DVD/CD package featuring a full concert recorded at Shinagawa Prince Stellar Ball in Tokyo in May 2011. The only difference between the DVD and CD is the inclusion of three more song on the former. Essentially, then, the DVD is a visual record of the audio performance. With this said, we'll consider the DVD record of the concert.
As to the video quality, I played the DVD on my 47" Sony digital wide screen television: it looked quite good. But you'll need to push it through a decent sound system to get the best effect, which I don't have with my Sony. Then I played it through my computer which is attached to an old school analog four speaker system. NIce.
The best thing about the video recording is that there is no dumbass and weird special effects like fadeouts, split screens, and other nonsense. It's the band, individual player shots, and crowd scenes that make the cut. The music gets pushed to the forefront.
To the music then: this is a very strong, well-recorded, live album. Every player and every instrument is clear and equally balanced across the entire album. Sometimes there's an uneven volume control as on The Skull Collectors, by example,, but it doesn't detract from the concert.
While the video and audio aspects are important, more important is the band's performance. Are they lively and enthusiastic? Yes. Are they bringing they 'A game' or simply going through the motions? Yes to the former, No to the latter. Fundamentally, are they playing at their best and playing to their fans pleasure? Definitely. High marks go to the rhythm section: bassist Benhur Lima and drummer Eduardo Baldo, who is quite the talented and enthusiastic fellow.
Okay, now you're wondering, what's the downside? Nothing, really, except more and better bonus material would have been great, like concert commentary, travels in Japan, or backstage antics.
While Blinded By Tokyo offers a good cross section of Hibria's three albums, here's my top picks: The Skull Collectors, Living Under Ice, Sea of Revenge, Welcome to the Horror Show, Sight of Blindness, and the encore Tiger Punch.
If you don't know Hibria, then Blinded By Tokyo is a welcome introduction. Hibria's Blinded By Tokyo is, from both the audio and visual sides, an impressive and entertaining glimpse of this talented Brazilian melodic power metal band. You can get the DVD/CD package for 15 bucks from Cleopatra Records, possibly less at Amazon. Such a deal.