• Another holy grail - A review of Bow Wow's XXXV ~Thirty Five Years of Maximum H.R.

    Bow Wow - XXXV ~Thirty Five Years of Maximum H.R. (2011)

    Bow Wow is one of Japan's most important veteran rock and roll, hard rock and heavy metal bands that has been active through five decades. This beautifully designed boxed set includes four discs and a DVD with concert excerpts.

    The first two discs focus on the band's early years between the mid-seventies and the early eighties. The songs are taken from the first ten studio albums and numerous singles released in only seven years. The band was mainly inspired by Western rock bands varying from The Beatles over Led Zeppelin to Rush. Bow Wow plays melodic rock music with commercial appeal, tight hard rock with strong rhythms and a few more atmospheric pieces with slight progressive influences. The band also offers technically appealing and rhythmically engaging instrumental tracks that stand out as highlights. If you are expecting heavy metal sounds however, you won't get much of them here.

    The third and fourth discs focus on material released between the late nineties and mid-years of the first decade of the new millennium. The more recent tracks are heavier than the early material as the band meanders between hard rock and heavy metal with lots of swagger. The band has found its own style instead of looking up to its idols like they did in the late seventies and early eighties. While most veteran bands started strong but lost steam towards the end of their careers, the material Bow Wow released on its last regular studio album Era might be the best it has ever written. The fourth disc even includes three completely new songs that are catchy, focused and powerful heavy metal and show that this band would still have lots of great material to offer. The veterans haven't come around with any new material since then and if these three songs were to be their last ones, the group would certainly leave on a very high note.

    The only negative aspect of this wonderful boxed set is that material from the band's records between the mid-eighties and mid-nineties isn't included here. This includes nine regular studio records and numerous singles as this band has always released plenty of great material throughout the first forty years of its career. If you are interested in that material you should grab another boxed set entitled The Vox featuring eight discs and a DVD released under the Vow Wow banner. Still, if you like vibrant Japanese hard rock and heavy metal, this release can be considered another holy grail along with Anthem's phantastic 30th Anniversary of Nexus Years Limited Collector's Box.

    Final rating: 90%

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