LOUDNESS - Rise To Glory
January 31, 2018, a year ago
Yes, the Japanese metallers are still going strong. In fact, this features some of the most aggressive Akira Takasaki playing in decades, recalling those early, Japanese sung albums. The guitarist is quoted as saying, “I played lots of guitars, more than any other albums this century.” For those expecting a reprise of the best known ‘80s hits, as found on MTV friendly releases like Thunder In the East and Lightning Strikes, that will come as a surprise. Then again, it's not the experimental, psychedelia of the ‘90s either (for the most part, as there are a couple of instrumentals and lackluster “No Limits” within the baker's dozen.)
Best stuff first. Following the short, opening “8118” instrumental, “Soul On Fire” is a bouncy re-introduction to the best known Japanese export, that gritty Takasaki tone and pinging ride cymbal featured prominently, with a “We're gonna rock you” chorus. Classic minded “Go For Broke” quickly locks into familiar sounds. A staccato, riff happy “Massive Tornado” (shouldn't it be cyclone or typhoon, given the Asian locale?) lets the guitarist go off, although there's a section where he's merely sliding his fingers up and down the strings, without producing any notes (just audible friction). Pick of the litter is the titular track, like something off The Law Of Devil's Land. “Speed”, mach II anyone? They get going so fast, the song fades out, rather than trying to coordinate a stopping point. The galloping influence within “Why And For Whom” questions if Loudness hasn't spent too much time touring Europe, while the Judas Priest inspired “No Limits” should be welcome on any continent. Mid-tempo disc closer “Let's All Rock” has a bit of Schenker era Scorpions about it.
Atypical “Rain” is a slow, brooding, Baroque piece, lot of space to actually hear Minoru Niihara's pronunciation. Conversely “I'm Still Alive” is too heavy for its own good. Don't want Loudness thrash. Acoustic begun “Until I See The Light” gradually becomes electrified, but apart from a brief, subtle guitar/bass spotlight, which fades out to the conclusion, goes nowhere. “The Voice” is a long wind-up for a whirlwind solo that completes the track.
Hopefully a few of these will stick in the live set. If we ever get the chance to see them again, on these shores.