Hailing from Japan and having thrilled audiences from around the Globe including the United Kingdom, the US and China, D_Drive have long been touted as ones to watch, reinforcing that notion with their performance at Camden Rocks Festival in 2019. There they were put on by Marshall Records having just released their international debut album “Maximum Impact” via the label, the meagre 160.5k worth of Spotify Streams it has achieved perhaps a reflection that everything sounds warmer on vinyl. That is probably still second best as there can be no doubt that seeing a band like this one in the live arena is a spectacle to behold, the entrancing qualities of that record combined with the energy that you get at a live show worth the asking price and then some…
The instrumental quartet blend elements of Metal, Jazz, Rock and the Progressive to create their own unique style, which throughout “Dynamotive” is playful, fun and joy filled with the interplay between the musicians being nothing short of incredible. D_Drive are similar in many ways to bands like Navian and Toska, keeping the listener on their toes as they dance between sub-genres leaving us hypnotized by their mesmerising performances. “Red Light, Green Light” has all the feeling of a late 70’s Traditional Metal cut with blistering leads flying in every direction as Yuki and Seiji remind us about what made their 2019 album “Maximum Impact” so good. Conjoined twin “Begin Again” continued the sonic narrative in glorious fashion and should he ever hear it, it would make Joe Satriani take note. Single “I Remember The Town” changes the angle of attack bringing fresh nuances that crawl from the woodwork over multiple listens before “Get Away” dials up the cinema edge with some funky bass drives from Toshi. DragonForce like Power Metal leads bring this one home, offering vibrant light and power that could easily make for the soundtrack to the next Thor or Guardians Of The Galaxy film.
Each of their creations conjures metal images without the need for vocals, leaving everything to the depth of the listeners imagination. “Runaway Boy” paints pictures of a Space Odyssey as the band zip around distant stars, the energy of drummer Chiiko setting the tempo and driving the music forward from effervescence, providing a backbone for the others to create. That’s not to say there isn’t plenty of invention in the drumming either with a plethora of clever rhythmic interplay spread over this collection of sublime works. “Wings” is reminiscent of the work of Plini, Progressive and yet having Hard Rock roots which allow the leads dance over them. D_Drive are the kind of band that you want to be a fly on the wall of the rehearsal room of to witness some improvisational jam sessions because they have so many ideas on show here that there must be a wealth of them that don’t make the grade. The opening passages of “U_Me” plays with melancholia before building into the bands usual gallop, the slick leads being completely captivating as they play out but it’s the heavier, more metallic “Breakout” that steals the show, creating a grand finale worthy of the Sydney Opera House to bring the curtain down on an incredible record [8.5/10]
Red Light, Green Light
I Remember The Town
“Dynamotive” by D_Drive is out 26th August 2022 via Marshall Records