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Artist: Tak Matsumoto
Rating: *****
Review by Dave

        It is my sincerely pleasure to rate this album.  Since getting this album, nigh
on 2 months ago, I have listened to it nonstop.  From “The Changing” to
“Believin’ You”, this is a masterpiece of an album, in any language.  Tak’s
guitar work is flawless, bludgeoning at times, and very fluid.  This album is
definitely worth the import fees.  This is also the introduction of something
new to the mix…Tak sings!

        Starting with “The Changing”, this album starts off on a riotous note. 
Originally called “Don’t Ask Me Baby”, it was originally played on the “BUZZ”
tour in 1995 during Tak’s solo set.  Back then, it had a very Aerosmith-like
grove to it, but it was all Tak.  He re-wrote the lyrics and changed the
arrangement for “Changing” to give it a more industrial feel, but it is very
much a balls-out rocker.

        The next track, another tour favorite is “Nothin’ But the Blues”, a very
articulate piece of music.  The song has a slow groove to it, and has plenty of
English in it to show that Kohshi isn’t the only one in B’z who can sing and
write in English (Tak was an English major at his university…).  The solo is
smooth and fits the song succinctly.

        “HEAVEN” is just that…for guitar players.  With over 16 tracks of guitar
alone…HEAVEN employs some of the most blistering fretwork on the album and of
any album in the past 10 years.  From the wah-wah at the beginning to the 1:47
long, two hand tapping extravaganza of a solo (Eruption by Van Halen is just as
long…coincidence…I think not…), to the crying wah-wah at the end, this song is a
guitar lover’s fantasy rolled into one 5 minute song.  During the bridge section
before the chorus, there are some of the most intensely fast shredding on the
overdubs you’ll ever hear!

        “SAKURA” is a very light song, but very colorful.  Tak has a very restrained
voice, but he uses it to great effect in this song.  The bass arrangement is
very smooth, and “Vagabond” does a great job.  The solo is silky smooth, and
just sounds like it would be fun to play!

        “GO FURTHER” is a big highlight on this album, featuring Billy Sheehan of Mr.
Big fame, and a 25 year veteran on bass, and one of the best drummers in Japan
from Luna Sea (I can’t read the Kanji…).  This song is loud, rude, and full of
unbridled attitude.  No wonder it’s the theme song for F-1 Racing in Japan. 
This song employs some very fast rhythm guitar work, and some great bass and
guitar synchronicity of any song to date (For more of an example of this…check
out Dokken’s “DYSFUNCTIONAL” album.).

        “two of us” is a very sweet song, a departure for Tak and his usual writing
style.  Written in more of a reggae style, my Japanese friends really like this
song, and say it has some really good words to be said.  It has a very Tak-like
solo, but manages to say in the reggae groove.  Very smart writing and

        “Kami-sama” is not one of my favorite songs on the album, but it is still worth
checking out.  It is a slower song, but is not as much fun to listen to as the
other songs.  It has a fairly good solo and rhythm, but isn’t as good as the
rest of the songs…

        “Fuyu no…..”(I can’t read to kanji) is definitely one of my favorite songs off
of this album.  It starts out with a very nice acoustic appregio at the
beginning and works up to a climactic solo…it has some elements of Eric Clapton
in the arrangement, and is one of my personal favorites.

        “Ai-Ai-Ai” is a great song for one reason…it’s fast and furious.  No sugar
coating, no fancy arrangements, just straight rock and rock…no gimmics.

        “Zero Yori, Zero Kara” is what I call a “filler” song…good song, but a needed
bridge for space on the CD.  I like the laid back solo at the end of the song,
and the vocals are clear and recorded very well.

        “Believin’ You” is easily one of the best songs Tak has ever recorded.  It
starts very slow and dramatic, it actually reminds me of someone writing a
symphony to a movie…it’s like he saw a scene in his head and wrote it
accordingly.  He plays a solo that is one of his best…very smooth and easy, but
ends in a tapping part that will give you goosebumps.

        All in all this is a great album, and please buy it!!!!