SAEKO – Holy Are We Alone

Holy Are We Alone
Pride & Joy Music
Out: August 11th, 2021 (Japan, South Korea) / August 20th, 2021 (EU, International)
Playing time: 49:11

She was the first Asian female singer to perform at the legendary Wacken Open Air. And she was also the first Asian female singer to tour with the German metal queen Doro. Saeko Kitamae. But that was a long time ago, a few years after the turn of the millennium. The release of the first two albums (2004 and 2006) was exactly in this period. After that it was quiet for the most part. One of the few signs of life I know of was a performance at the Metal Female Voices Fest 2014 in Belgium. Here she sang a song for the victims of the great earthquake in Japan in 2011. That changed only a year ago. In early 2020, the singer launched a crowdfunding campaign to finance her comeback – after more than thirteen years. However, work on “Holy Are We Alone” was overshadowed by the Corona pandemic. The third album will be released in August and will be distributed worldwide by Pride & Joy Music. Only for her home country and South Korea she has signed a contract with King Records Co. Ltd.

Now the time has come
I’ll be back
To meet you again

Now it’s time to break the spell!!!

Confident words for a singer who has had such a long break. Who has most likely been forgotten by many old fans. And who is probably largely unknown to the younger generation. But you have to have that kind of self-confidence with such a comeback. With that, she sets the level very high for what follows in the spoken words intro “Circle Of Life”. The eight regular songs are thematically and musically assigned to different countries. The first song is, of course, her home country – “Japan: In My Dream” Although she currently lives in Germany, Saeko continues to dream of the island nation in East Asia. The song starts off punchy. Saeko uses harmonies from the music of her homeland in her singing but sounds much more powerful than one is used to from Japanese folklore. She is a rock belter anyway. Musical quotations from the respective countries are also heard again and again in the following. These include the oriental-sounding guitars in “Syria: Music, My Love” or the quote from “The Drunken Sailor” in “UK: Never Say Never”. Although this shanty is actually international, and the melody was taken from an Irish dance and march song. But the song title is also very British. Secret agent 007 sends his regards. And “Germany: Rebellion Mission” is based on the Aria of the Queen of the Night from the opera “The Magic Flute” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Amazingly, the singer herself sings the quite difficult coloraturas! And so, it goes on, with Sitar sounds for India or the world-famous “Aloha ʻOe” in “Hawaii: Farewell To You II”. This is also the ballad of the album. The Hawaiian-sounding vocals are accompanied only by a piano. Mahalo Saeko! “Russia: Heroes” is reminiscent in places of the classical works of Russian/Soviet composers. Of course, the Russian folk choruses are not to be missed. How the album begins is how it ends. With spoken words by the singer.

Above Heaven
Below Heaven
We alone exist

I’ve talked so much about country-specific influences in the individual songs. The question is, is this a Metal album at all? The answer is – of course. Saeko succeeds brilliantly in incorporating all these sounds into timelessly beautiful Metal melodies. Although Saeko Kitamae is the real star of the album, her three comrades-in-arms are also fully convincing. Wonderful guitar solos, powerful drumming and deep bass lines. In my opinion, the comeback is more than successful. Welcome back SAEKO!

Saeko – Russia: Heroes (Official Lyric Video):

SAEKO – Japan: In My Dream (Official Video):


Saeko Kitamae (Japan) – Vocals, Keys
Guido Benedetti (Italy – Trick or Treat) – Guitars, Keys
Alessandro Sala (Italy – Rhapsody of Fire) – Bass
Michael Ehre (Germany – Primal Fear, Gamma Ray, The Unity etc.) – Drums

Track list:

  • Circle Of Life
  • Japan: In My Dream
  • Syria: Music, My Love
  • UK: Never Say Never
  • Germany: Rebellion Mission
  • India: Farewell To You I (From Father To Son)
  • Brazil: Splinters Of The Sun
  • Hawaii (USA): Farewell To You II (From Mother To Daughter)
  • Russia: Heroes
  • Holy Are We Alone
  • 8/10
    Album - 8/10
  • 8/10
    Cover Art - 8/10
  • 9/10
    Song Writing - 9/10