StrangersThink Tomoyasu Hotei, and you probably think of Kill Bill’s theme “Battle Without Honour Or Humanity”… I know I did; and it was this that launched him onto our radar. However, dig a little deeper, and you have a jaw droppingly talented and eclectic guitar maestro, who has sold more than 40 million records in his native Japan alone. This man is simply outstanding, and his star studded debut international release album, “Strangers” just smacks of brilliance from every angle.

The album features an array of impressive guests, reiterating the uncompromising angular approach to music Hotei has. The Godfather of Punk, Iggy Pop stretches his vocal chords on the delightfully edgy “How The Cookie Crumbles”, Texan songstress Shea Seger delivers a seductive masterclass on “Kill Or Kiss”, and turns up the raunch on “Texas Groove”. Rammstein’s Richard Z Kruspe throws in some industrial crunch with “Move It”, and even Bullet For My Valentine’s Matt Tuck is unleashed with the deliciously sinister “Kill To Love You”.

The album is a journey, and it marks a perfect international introduction for Hotei, concluding in the familiarly epic “Battle Without Honour Or Humanity”. Hotei’s guitarwork throughout is flawless, effortlessly crossing any boundaries created by genres. J-Pop influences seemlessly collide with Texan blues, and the solo instrumental pieces such as “Medusa” and “Strangers” deliver atmospheric punches that a certain Mr Satriani would be proud of.

This album has been cemented on the TINAS playlist over the past week, and with its angular sonic landscapes, it’s well worth a listen…

Damn it’s good.

Hotei plays an intimate show at Islington Assembly Hall on October 21st. He will be joined on stage by Reef’s Gary Stringer and Shea Seger. It’s the perfect chance to get up close and personal with this guitar weilding icon.

‘Strangers’ is available now through Spinefarm.

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