Loudness were formed in Japan in May 1981 and have been a prolific band releasing around 30 albums since then including live albums and English versions of their Japanese language albums. In 1983 they did their first US and European tours and signed a record deal with Atlantic records, in the process becoming the first Japanese band to sign an international record deal. In 1988 their vocalist (Minoru Niihara) left the band- the first of several lineup changes, and it wasnt until May 2000 that the band reformed the original lineup.
I first listened to Loudness back in 1986 – seeing them play live in Tokyo and hearing their “Thunder in the East” album was amazing and as a live band they lived up to their name (I was half deaf for hours after the show despite not being anywhere near the front). I must admit to losing track of their later releases though and it wasn’t till they released “Eve to dawn” in 2012 that I really started listening to them again. They’re definitely an underrated band outside Japan, which is probably why they rarely play here, but they really are an excellent band.
“Rise to glory” is another great album from Loudness. Akira Takasaki may not be as well known as a lot of heavy metal guitarists, but when you listen to his playing on this album, on songs such as “Soul on fire” for example, you realise he’s one hell of a talented guitarist.
The lyrics and vocals are always an area that concern people with foreign bands, with one key question being “Are they in English?”. It’s amazing how many people are put off when bands sing in a different language, but fear not – Loudness sing in English these days and the vocals are good – you can hear the lyrics and they sound good.
There’s a good mix of songs on the album – it’s all loud and heavy, but some are mid-paced songs and others like “Massive tornado” are much faster.
Loudness are a band that really deserve to be far bigger outside Japan than they are. If you’re a fan of heavy metal I’d definitely recommend checking out this album as a great example of their music (and if you like it, “Thunder in the East” and “81-86 live are both excellent purchases”)
“Rise to glory” is out now via earMUSIC
1. 8118 (Instrumental)
2. Soul on fire
3. I’m still alive
4. Go for broke
5. Until I see the light
6. The voice
7. Massive Tornado
8. Kama sutra (Instrumental)
9. Rise to glory
10. Why and for whom
11. No limits
13. Let’s all rock