I’ll admit, I’ve been letting the band submissions pile up lately – there’s just been too much work on my desk (and I prefer to write most of my client work in silence. Surprised?), and I’ve been feeling a sense of impending doom at the long list of PR emails with the word “core” in them and promo pics of skinny kids with complicated haircuts.
However, when someone emails you and says “Do you want to check out my band? We’ve got Chris Slade of ACDC on drums,” you sit up and pay attention.
MIWA are a Los Angeles heavy metal outfit featuring Chris Slade alongside Bjorn Englen (Yngwie Malmsteen) on bass, a friendly dude named Sean Lee on guitar, and Miwa – a Japanese songstress with a voice all of her own. Their debut album is My Wish is Your Command and if you want to hear female vocals that aren’t competing for a role on phantom of the Opera or mimicing Angela Gossow’s gutteral snarl, you’ve got to hear this girl sing … or screech, or shout, or gurgle, or whatever the hell it is she’s doing.
“Chris Slade could be in any band, but he joined MIWA because he likes Sean’s guitar playing and Miwa’s powerful vocals.” MIWA’s bio proudly states. Smart move, Chris.
The first time I listened to this album, I was impressed. The second time, I fucking loved it.
This style of heavy metal requires a strong lead vocal to pull it off – especially when you’ve got excellent riffage like this release – and, while Miwa lacks the range of other hard rock/heavy metal vocalists, she’s definitely not short of power or charisma. Miwa’s distinct style often reminds me of the punk rock group Civet, especially on “Playing with Fire”.
You already know that if Chris Slade is hanging around, the drums are going to be awesome. The man knows how to augment a song in just the right places to propel it forward or bring it back. But it’s the riffs and solos lift this album from amongst its peers – I am a guitar girl, first and foremost, and My Wish is Your Command will restore your faith in classic, guitar driven hard rock. The songs work – they flow with a natural ease that can only come from four talented musicians who just click. This is the kind of music that compels you to jump around, pump your arms, and make a jackass of yourself.
If I could pick one fault, it would be that the slower ballads don’t work quite as well with Miwa’s voice as the standout anthems like “My Wish is Your Command” and “Gimme What You Got”. I do enjoy hearing Miwa sing in Japanese, though.
If you’re having a shit week and you need some classic metal to cheer you up, get your hands on My Wish is Your Command. I am listening to “Playing with Fire” right now and, during my headbanging, I bonked my nose on the computer screen. Does it hurt? Yes. Do I care? No – that’s how good this album is. Check out the official MIWA website or the MIWA Myspace page to hear some seriously fucking kick-ass 80s style metal.