Album review: Destinia “Tokyo Encounter”
Destinia’s “Metal Souls” line-up – uniting Japanese guitarist Nozomu Wakai with international rock stars Ronnie Romero, Marco Mendoza and Tommy Aldridge – performed for one night only in Tokyo in 2019. Now that evening is available for the world to hear on the new live release “Tokyo Encounter”.
On 21st January 2019, Destinia’s “Metal Souls” line-up performed live on stage for the first, and, so far, only time. The one-off gig at Tsutaya O-East in Shibuya, Tokyo was fabulous and great fun. It was a privilege for me to be at that very special gig. The combination of one of Japan’s best metal guitarists and an international band of seasoned rock musicians worked very well. Now that magic night is being served up for the whole world to experience on the new live release “Tokyo Encounter”. Guitarist Nozomu Wakai has in recent years made a name for himself as a exquisite guitar wizard here in Japan. Akira Takasaki of Loudness remains the undisputed king of Japanese metal guitar playing, but Nozomu Wakai is certainly one of the best of the newer names to emerge in the Japanese metal scene. Wakai has done a few Destinia releases and he has also performed with Mari Hamada’s band and Paul Shortino Band (led by the legendary Quiet Riot and Rough Cutt vocalist Paul Shortino). He has appeared as a guest on stage with a few international acts visiting Japan, including Lords of Black and Graham Bonnet and Alcatrazz. This winter evening in Tokyo, Destinia had the same line-up as on the fab studio album “Metal Souls” which was released in 2018. The line-up featured Nozomu Wakai, vocalist Ronnie Romero (Rainbow, Lords of Black), drummer Tommy Aldridge (Whitesnake, Ozzy Osbourne, Gary Moore, Yngwie Malmsteen, Black Oak Arkansas, Pat Travers Band, Ted Nugent, Thin Lizzy) and bassist Marco Mendoza (The Dead Daisies, Whitesnake, Ted Nugent, Thin Lizzy, Black Star Riders, Blue Murder). On the night, Destinia was also backed up by second guitarist Nobu Doi. The bulk of the new live release is made up of original Destinia material including terrific melodic metal songs such as “Metal Souls”, “Rain” and “Judgement Day”. We get a full Tommy Aldridge drum solo and that’s OK as he’s one of the few drummers capable of delivering a drum solo that doesn’t bore me. The tried and tested Mendoza-Aldridge rhythm section is, as expected, rock solid and when combined with Wakai’s guitar wizardry and the terrific voice of Ronnie Romero and great songs, the result is splendid. Highlights for me are “Promised Land”, “Raise Your Fist”, “Be a Hero” (on which Wakai really gets to shine with his guitar), “The End of Love” and “Ready for Rock”. The main CD has 14 tracks (including all the ten tracks from the “Metal Souls” album). There is also a four-track bonus CD which features the closing of the show that evening, four carefully chosen cover tracks: Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys Are Back In Town”, John Sykes’ “Please Don’t Leave Me”, Ozzy Osbourne’s “Over the Mountain” and Whitesnake’s “Fool For Your Loving”. What a treat it is to be able to relive this fantastic evening through this new live release. It brings back terrific memories, especially now with not many gigs happening. I hope that this live release will lead to more live shows with Destinia. Destinia has great songs and no doubt the ability to write more songs of the same calibre. There is so much potential in this project and hopefully we will get to hear more of Destinia.
Destinia’s live album “Tokyo Encounter” will be released on 21st April via Ward Records. There will also be DVD and Blu-ray editions released.