Into The Fire

Ninja are a hard rock/metal band from Germany formed in 1986 who released a demo in 1987 and three albums between 1988 and 1997. Remaining quiet since the release of their third album, the band have now made a return to the big time with the impending 2016 release of their fourth album 'Into The Fire'.    
Influenced by bands as wide ranging as Deep Purple, Accept and AC/DC, Ninja have a sound that is not entirely unique, but still packs a punch, with an emphatic atmospheric vibe. The album opens with the heavy, slow stomp of 'Frozen Time' echoing the kind of anthemic stomps that Manowar are famed for. A strong vocal delivery with a slight throaty rasp and a superb guitar solo. A thunderous opening and 'Thunder' is ploughing a path through the airwaves with chopping guitars and a heavier, much more intensified stomp. Catchy and addictive across the chorus 'Thunder' is blazing rage. Guitar driven 'Vagabond Heart' returns the mid tempo anthemic stomp to the album with a slight hint at the blues.    
Heavying things up is the slow pounding thud of 'Masterpiece'. Guitars are heavy and the rhythm section hints at the doom metal genre. A cracking, if short, guitar solo brings 'Hot Blond Shot' to life, full of sleaze rock tendencies with a down and dirty feel about it. The chugging rhythm is foot tappingly addictive and your head will also be nodding in appreciation. At this point you begin to wonder if Ninja can play high energy, out and out heavy metal, or is the album gonna be one of those frustratingly slow mid tempo efforts that makes you ponder "when is the album gonna get going?". Not with 'Always Been Hell', which slows down to a lighters in the air pace and a wave your arms from side to side vibe as it ambles on its way.    
Energy levels are finally raised as the AC/DC sounding 'Blood On My Blood' kicks in and would not be out of place on an AC/DC concert set list. The guitars boogie and the vocals are a gravel edged snarl. The big riffing 'Coward' is bold and brash and is a an example of a mid tempo power metal thump. The rhythm is catchy, the guitars buzz and the gravel edged vocal delivery is well suited to this style of music. Mixing the eighties glam and sleaze rock genres 'Last Chance' is loud and in your face, with enough attitude to slap you around the head and make you listen.    
Although the album lacks any kind of pace, it is still a very hard hitting collection of songs that showcase the considerable experience of the band. The guitar work is superb with clear solos and the occasional screechy ones. 'Sledgehammer' storms in and hits you like, well, like a sledgehammer...and the song threatens to race off as the relentless guitar chug rattles and rumbles along at a pace somewhere between mid and top. The guitar driven 'Supernatural' pounds the senses with its addictive and memorable guitar hooks, snarling vocals and raucous rhythm. Bringing the album to a close is the title song 'Into The Fire' all soulful with excellent backing female vocals. The album is stacked full of songs that follow the slower, mid tempo, anthemic style and for a band that claims to be classic German power metal, you would have expected some high intensity, up tempo, out and out heavy metal that you could head bang furiously to, but sadly, there is not even one.    
Overall, mid tempo, chugging melodic hard rock with a gravel edged vocal delivery, superb guitar work and catchy rhythms.    
Review By Iron Mathew Collins    
Reviewed For Pure Steel Records    
Review is also featured at Metal Gods TV