Band Biographies: SABER TIGER

For over three decades, SABER TIGER has been steadily building their fan base in their native Japan, improving upon their classic heavy metal sound and contemporary progressive touches with each step along the way. However, SABER TIGER is no longer Japan's best-kept secret. Over the last couple of years, the quintet has slowly been gaining notoriety in the rest of the world as well. 

SABER TIGER was founded in 1981 by guitarist Akihito Kinoshita. It hasn't been an easy ride; numerous line-up changes and the band's relatively remote location on the northern island of Hokkaido did not exactly make things easy for the band. But Kinoshita has soldiered on through good times and bad. Lately, the band has been experiencing the most prolific years of their career. With singer Takenori Shimoyama, guitarist Yasuharu Tanaka - both of whom had extended stints with the band in the nineties - and the young, hungry rhythm section of bassist hibiki and Yasuhiro Mizuno in the line-up, the band sounds more inspired than ever.  

There is a degree of musical expertise within this line-up that SABER TIGER takes full advantage of. Kinoshita's intuitive guitar playing perfectly complements Tanaka's more modern melodic style, Shimoyama's raw-edged clean vocals are passionate and powerful, while Mizuno and Hibiki can take the band through both technical passages and simpler grooves with incredible ease. 

Past, present, and future come together in the music of SABER TIGER. The band honors the tradition of heavy metal but is also clearly a band of its own time. Twin guitar melodies and inventive riffs should satisfy everyone's eighties metal euphoria, but the music also sounds fresh and vibrant. Their unpredictable songwriting will keep you hungry for more. 

Another thing that makes SABER TIGER stand out in the Japanese metal scene is the quality of their English lyrics. These aren't just Japanese lyrics with the occasional internationally understood catchphrase thrown in. These songs have something to say and that is done in proper, well-pronounced English. 

SABER TIGER had its first taste of international recognition when the band played two intense concerts in the Netherlands in June 2016. Not long after, the band was signed by SLIPTRICK RECORDS for the international release of their critically acclaimed 2015 album "BYSTANDER EFFECT". Proving their live reputation on a highly successful tour of Ukraine, Russia, Latvia, and Lithuania, SABER TIGER warmed up their audience for the release of their brand new album "OBSCURE DIVERSITY", released in late 2018. 

With the aid of these international releases, the rest of the world finally found out what Japanese metalheads have known for a long time: SABER TIGER might just be the best heavy metal band that Japan has to offer. If SABER TIGER has anything to prove to the world, it would be that the language of heavy metal is understood all over the world and that hard work and never giving up will pay off in the end. 

text: Kevin Pasman (

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