posted on 5/2006 By:
LOUDNESS! ROUDLESS! I saw these motherfuckers in high school at a terrible little cowpalace in the Utah State Fairgrounds. I saw quite a few bands there, and Loudness was the only one that sounded decent. In fact I think in 1985 they had the best sound of any band I had ever heard and in one of the hardest places to get a good sound in too.
And yes, they smoked. Not the best stage presence, not the best look (they were trying to be LA Glam and it just looked ridiculous), but the band was terrifyingly tight, and lead guitarist Akira TAKASAKI was almost inhuman, and that was at a time when every half assed kid with enough money for a Floyd Rose equipped Washburn was spending time almost exclusively on becoming a better version of Randy Rhoads. Guitar Gods were ubiquitous, but he stood out like Godfuckingzilla.
And there is NOTHING ON THIS FUCKING EARTH as cool as the sound of an angry Japanese singer shouting "Herro SARR Rake ACIDDEE!" - what I am saying is they kicked ass.
The album they were promoting was their attempt to get in on the huge success of bands like Ratt, Crue and Quiet Riot, but real metalheads heard the essential differences. Remove the hamfisted pop-metal bullshit and you had clever melodies and strange sensibilities that shitty Sunset Strip "metal" bands couldn't dream of. I had even been lucky enough to hear The Birthday Eve from a foreign exchange student that hung with my friend, so I was actually conscious of a "true metal" underlayment of early Riot and UFO.
Ain't history grand?
What this record brings us is a fucking REAL metal experience, ladies and female impersonators. Re-performed standards from the Loudness catalog, utterly devoid of trendiness, and still maintaining that late seventies and early eighties heavy metal vibe. For those of you who pine for trad metal, these guys never seem to have left it. In fact they don't seem to know there IS such a thing. Instead of sounding forced or hackneyed, this is simply what Loudness IS. Like Saxon and UFO's releases in the last few years this band just play the music they love the way they love to play it, and fuck you if that's not good enough. Luckily for me it is.
Compared to a modern spazzcore or mathmetal act, the musicianship on this is not going to turn your head, but what it will do is excite and delight you the way an old Jazz record might. Melody up front, steam powered rhythms and pure metal power allow TAKASAKI to display his fabulous fretwork, and vocalist Minoru NIIHARA gives it straight from the gut. He always had a little vibratosis problem, but when he is just flaying he is probably one of the better pure metal vocalists in the biz. Still tight, still essentially without bullshit, still a great fucking band.
The production has both a massive and raw flavor I can't say I have heard before, but true to the Loudness I know and love, the sound is the rock equivalent of ringing a fucking bell. Everything is easily discernible, but it sounds like you are standing in the garage while the band works out its setlist.
You need a bottom line? A classic act, doing its classic material. A breath of fresh air, a trip down memory lane and a very compelling way to get into (or back into) a band that many people may only know as a novelty eighties band. Now as then sometimes it's all a little TOO much, but fuck it. Let the cheese happen, let it go and be amazed at the pure metal treasure that remains. Doubt me? Check out the riff and break in "Street Woman". If you can still sit on the bleeding remains of your asshole after they shove that song in and out of it for six minutes, send me a fucking line. I say get this motherfucker today. "RIKE HERR!!!!"
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