Significant Point – Into the Storm Review

Significant Point. This band name has caused some amount of controversy around the AMG water beer cooler for its apparent strangeness. Alternative band names such as Topic Sentence and Eminent Predicate were tossed around with mirth and glee, and the sniggering appeared to drown out the thunder in the east, but I still heard the distant rumblings. Significant Point exists to make a significant point potent statement: heavy metal never dies.

Hailing from Japan, Significant Point has one current and one former member of Evil in its ranks, which helps explain why they do the 80s metal thing so well. I’m not sure if it’s a Japanese or broader east thing, but Significant Point and bands like them completely lack the shield of post-ironic, almost neurotically self-aware distance that people who vape and have a pathological fear of taking anything seriously do. Significant Point loves 80s heavy metal, and they play exactly the kind of music that people who love 80s heavy would play; you’ll hear this from the first note to the last. What’s more, Into the Storm just goes for it at every possible opportunity, in riffs, vocals, and solos. These guys love what they’re doing, and clearly think it rules.

Lo and behold, they’re right: Into the Storm rules. Nary a track goes by without a killer solo or vocals that would shatter you beer glass.1 All the 80s metal beats are here, from to Holy Diver to Number of the Beast, from Screaming for Vengeance to Skeptics Apocalypse – if it’s great stuff from the 80s, chances are it found its way into Significant Point‘s brew. Loudness plays a big part in the sound in a similar way to how Deaf Dealer plays a part in Traveler‘s sound. Perhaps the happiest part of this Loudness influence comes from the long shadow cast by Akira Takasaki, one of metal’s most criminally underrated guitarists and clearly a foundational building block in the playing style of Significant Point’s guitarists Gou Takeuchi and Kazuki Kuwagaki. This might be the best record for huge leads I’ve heard since Tyr’s Hel, and that’s no faint praise.

The ratio of great to bad songs here is 10:0. Whether it’s the Thunder in the East throwback of “You’ve Got the Power” or the superlative Agent Steel-influenced speed metal of “Attacker,” if you like metal you’ll like Significant Point. “Night of the Axe” is a bunch of great Iron Maiden material somehow lost in the fog of the 80s and packed into a 3:29 song with a stellar guitar solo. “Danger Zone” is an effective mixture of Loudness and Painkiller-era Priest,2 with all the fantastic guitar work that combination implies. If you told me “Deathrider” was a long-lost Japanese speed metal classic from the 80s from some compilation akin to Metal Massacre, I’d probably have believed you. It’s got energy, grit, and a bona fide guitar masterclass for its extended solo section.

The vocals, courtesy of George Itoh, appear to be a significant point major bone of contention around the beer cooler as well. To some, they’re gratuitous and “unhinged.” To me, they sound like raw energy and enthusiasm personified, and “unhinged” isn’t pejorative. Itoh spends much of his time in his higher register, but he’s got good range; this is showcased on “You’ve Got the Power” the title track. Conversely, the rousing, “Heavy Attack” wouldn’t work nearly as well if Itoh restrained himself, and I for one am glad he doesn’t. The speed and energy of the music are accentuated by Itoh’s performance, and anything less intense would diminish the balls-out nature of Into the Storm, which is a big part of its appeal.

Into the Storm is a great record. It’s produced with the whole band in mind, although the guitars do admittedly get slightly preferential treatment. This makes sense, considering the sheer amount of glorious, extended leads on display. There’s exactly the right amount of material here too: at forty-four minutes, Into the Storm leaves politely before its welcome wears out but not before showing you a great time. Into the Storm is proof-positive that heavy metal never dies, but that’s only half the story. Heavy metal never dies because bands like Significant Point keep that fire burning with passion, zeal, energy, and the songwriting and musical chops to channel it into great music. The significant point important message of all this? Into the Storm is mandatory listening.


Rating: 4.0/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Dying Victims Productions
Websites: significantpoint.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/Significant-Point
Releases Worldwide: February 26th, 2021

Show 2 footnotes

  1. Solution: just drink it from the can.
  2. I’m aware that dropped in 1990, but it’s close enough. In any event, Painkiller is one of the most quintessentially 80s albums of the 90s.
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