As far as music goes, most people think of J-pop stars when they think of Japan. When it comes to metal, most people think of Babymetal, which is basically the same thing with metal instruments. However, Japan was once home to some of the greatest underground thrash acts to have ever graced the 80's metal scene. One of the greatest of those acts are Jurassic Jade, who released their War By Proxy EP in 1987, one of thrash's best hidden gems.
Right from the start with "Who Saw Him Die?", Jurassic Jade is out for blood. The riffs rip and tear, and Hizumi's vocals are among the most raw and commanding in thrash. She can go from vicious barks to banshee shrieks that rival Tom Araya on the classic Slayer albums. "Call Down Curse", while only being two and a half minutes long, is perhaps the best with some excellent crash cymbal that really stands out during the chorus. The only time this EP ever lets up is with a short but sweet classical guitar outro that closes it out. Usually thrash bands start out with a classical intro, but I guess Jurassic Jade wanted to let the listener have a little relaxing time after the punishing thrashing.
The production is raw, sharp, and to the point. It makes the riffing that much more piercing, although it makes the album punchy and crushing in the right places as well. An example of that is with "Ao Shoku Haijin", which has such a deep low crunch for the drums. This song also is more of a mid-paced thrash track, being a bit of a break from the speed from most of the EP, which needs that punchy production to make it more effective. "Dead Men Tell No Tales" balances out the crunch and gritty speed, and has both a forceful and piercing sound.
Not only is War by Proxy one of the greatest Japanese thrash releases, but it is up there with the greatest thrash releases in general. Just like the US and German thrash scenes were quite different, so was the Japanese thrash scene. If you like your metal to shred your skin and punch you in the gut, check out this underrated masterpiece. Hope you found this review helpful, feel free to commment!