Earthshaker’s self-titled debut marked a strong beginning for a band in a brand new metal scene who didn’t yet know how to construct a proper heavy metal album, as evidenced by them enlisting the help of Adrian Smith who even contributed a song to said album. While there were a few undeniably great tracks, I could still see that this was still a young and largely inexperienced band. Fast forward just over half a year, a very busy one at that where the band released two EPs, Earthshaker had fine-tuned their sound and were ready to put forth their second full-length, Fugitive, an album which I feel is easily one of the best albums in Japanese metal’s first wave. Fugitive was the checkpoint in Earthshaker’s career where absolutely everything clicked. The band’s chemistry had never been tighter, nor would it ever be quite as tight again following this release.
For appreciating genre-defining albums