My name is Ychoril and these are my confessions. You may know that I’m a huge Japanophile. I love Japan and all things Japanese. The only thing that turns me on more than a hot Japanese woman is a hot Japanese Metal chick. That said, I watch District Zero Tour - Live at Shibuya-O East like most men watch porn. It has everything I could possibly want in one package: hot Japanese women and Heavy Metal music. In fact, it’s even better than just hot Japanese women and Heavy Metal music, it has hot Japanese women PLAYING Heavy Metal music. Overdosing on Viagra might give me an erection lasting longer than four hours, but so does watching Aldious live in concert. The difference is that while most would turn the volume down to hide the fact that they’re watching porn, I turn the volume up to advertise the fact that I’m listening to Metal. Though the band is composed of five hot Japanese ladies, they aren’t lightweights. This group is as professional and as well rehearsed as any Metal band out there. Fans of Power Metal in the vein of Stratovarious and Iron Savior will appreciate the musical prowess that these ladies display here and on their studio LPs, which is considerable. Guitarists Yoshi and Toki can and do shred as good as any Power Metal band out there, and the rest of the group (bassist Sawa and drummer Aruto) are similarly proficient with their instruments. Vocalist Re:NO (Rino Nikaidou) takes a bit of getting used to, mostly because her voice seems more suited for ballads than for Metal. Previous vocalist, Rami (who departed the band in 2012 due to health reasons), was more in line with traditional Power Metal vocals, and Re:NO’s style had many longtime fans wondering if the bleached-blonde former vocalist for JPop group Suitei Shojo and former KERA magazine fashion model could handle being in a “real” band. The District Zero LP had fans divided, but this live DVD shows that she and the rest of the group can still deliver the goods in a live environment. The band is definitely heavier in concert and their enthusiasm is clearly evident. Re:NO’s stage presence is considerable, and though she is the front-person, she never hogs the spotlight. All of the members, even drummer Aruto, get plenty of camera time. Yoshi and Toki are often in the front, trading guitar solos and shredding away like they were on the Shrapnel Records roster back in the ’80s (for those who don’t remember or weren’t alive back then, Shrapnel was the record label devoted to guitar wankery), though their music never stops being melodic and engaging. And they stay mesmerizing throughout the entire two hours that they play. Yes, Metal fans, this DVD has an entire two hour concert on it, shortened only between encores (there are two) for the sake of time. The musical selection spans much of the band’s career, though the bulk of it is centered around the District Zero LP. They still play older cuts like “Mermaid” and “Ultimate Melodious,” though the vocal arrangement has been altered slightly to accommodate Re:NO’s style. A word of warning: this band is from Japan and everything is in Japanese. It’s also region coded for Japan so if you don’t have an all-region DVD player or you happen to live in an area where Region 2 isn’t your native coding, you won’t be able to view it. As a fan of all things Japanese, I don’t recall ever being without an all-regions capable DVD player, but I know most folks out there probably don’t have one, so a warning is in order before you drop a bunch of money on this. For me, it was well worth relegating myself to eating Maruchan Cup Ramen for about a month while recovering from the financial hit this put on me. Sadly, it looks like I’m going to be eating instant ramen for a while longer because I got this DVD paid off just as the band’s latest LP, Dazed and Delight, was released. Life as a Japanophile isn’t easy - or cheap, for that matter - but releases like District Zero Tour - Live at Shibuya-O East make it all worthwhile.
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