Anthem - Hunting Time (1989)Release ID: 14692

Anthem - Hunting Time (1989) Cover
Daniel Daniel / September 20, 2023 / Comments 0 / 0

Prolific Tokyo-based heavy metal outfit Anthem have been on my radar for many years but I’ve never taken the plunge by giving any of their twenty full-length albums a fair crack until now which is a shame because their 1989 fifth album “Hunting Time” has proven to be a bit of a cracker to be honest. The band returned with the same lineup that recorded their previous record in 1988’s “Gypsy Ways” with their Japanese label Nexus Records once again calling upon English producer Chris Tsangarides to oversee the recordings. Chris was very well respected in the metal scene at the time given his previous involvement with records like Tygers of Pan Tang’s “Wild Cat” & “Spellbound”, Anvil’s “Metal on Metal” & “Forged in Fire” & Black Sabbath’s “The Eternal Idol” so Anthem were certainly in good hands & the results speak for themselves because “Hunting Time” sports a ripper of a production job (particularly for 1989) which takes what could have been a just another heavy metal record & thrusts it into the global spotlight.

“Hunting Time” is a ball of bright, energetic metal fury that jumps straight out of those speakers, grabs you by your late 80’s mullet & forces your head to bang in time with its up-tempo metal assault. The musicianship & arrangements show Anthem to be very capable & highly experienced exponents of their craft with the consistent tracklisting containing no weak moments. Anthem's sound sits very much in the metal-for metals-sake space that Judas Priest’s “Defenders of the Faith” built its reputation on & I don’t think we have enough records like that to be honest. The riffs & solos of guitarist Hiroya Fukuda are face-ripping, ball-tearing monsters that possess a weight that often pushes the limitations of the heavy metal subgenre to their limit.

The tracklisting contains just the eight songs & kicks off in very strong fashion with the first three songs being arguably the best on the album. There are a few filler tracks that pop up after that initial barrage however none of them can be considered to be duds. Front man Yukio Morikawa doesn’t seem to be able to decide on whether he wants to sing in Japanese or English, sometimes going for a mixture of the two but delivering his lyrics with confidence nonetheless. He’s quite engaging though & pulls it all off with aplomb, even if the Japanese sections are a little harder to engage with & some of the English lyrics are pretty poor.

“Hunting Time” has proven itself to be a breath of fresh air with its concentration on undiluted molten metal being very much in line with my preferences for your more conventional style of heavy metal. I think it just lacks the presence of a few genuinely classic songs in order to push it up into my more elite rating bracket. It’s consistency & proficiency are commendable though & fans of Japanese heavy metal bands like Loudness, Seikima-II & Metalucifer shouldn’t hesitate in checking it out.