You will grow up believing that I’m obsessed with this country, but when Japanese Heavy Metal legends Loudness release new stuff, it is my duty to listen to it.
Founded by Akira Takasaki (guitar) in 1981 with the help of his friend Munetaka Higuchi (drums), they’re quickly joined by Masayoshi Yamashita (bass) et Minoru Niihara (vocals). The line-up will suffer some changes (including a year with Taji Sawada, X Japan’s late bass player who died in 2011), notably with Masayoshi, Munetaka and Minoru’s departure then come back, but Akira will keep the band’s control. In 2008, Munetaka’s death hits them, and they hire Masayuki « Ampan » Suzuki to replace him. The band is one of the most fruitful one, they released thirty one full-lengths (without exclusive of the english versions) and also eight live records, sometimes several a year. The last one, Rise To Glory, is just out, and it forms part of the band’s tradition : a crafted and ageless Heavy Metal.
The record begins with 8118, an instrumental composition with keyboards and a remote rhythm part that let us glimpse the band’s capacity to surprise us permanently. Let’s come back to a more traditional Heavy Metal as we are all waiting for with Soul On Fire ! This track will probably reassure Minoru Niihara’s voice fans : the singer didn’t lose anything and his voice tone still fits well on the japanese’s wild rhythmics. Some effects during harmonics intrigue a bit, but it’s easy to let loose ourself to headbanging, while on I’m Still Alive it’s almost a duty. Riffs and lead guitar parts velocity made them run deep into your mind before disappear far away. Go For Broke comes back on more traditional sounds, rhythmed by harmonics that sometimes changes for a clean sound to melt to bass before a motivating chorus.
Until I See The Light starts with an acoustic lead guitar part that finally increases saturation with a jerky bass that slowly leads the rhythmic. We can almost call this one a Power Ballad thanks to the peace that it brings. The Voice comes back on a more powerful range, while focusing on a bit of riffs technicity, despite some clean sound moments, but it’s with the solo that the track really blows up, profiting to an airy dimension. Some Speed Metal roots will give to Massive Tornado a raw aspect, while Minoru uses some of the higher notes he can reach to motivate us to follow them. The break that comes on mid-track allows to efficiently restart assault.
Whereas its name evokes different things, Kama Sutra is an instrumental composition that alternates between a Heavy/Blues sound with floating maybe even psychedelic sounds, before fading up for Rise To Glory, the record’s eponymous track. This one comes back on every elements that made Loudness’ fame through years, sharp riffs and an easily recognizable and particular voice since firsts words, while staying within the purest Heavy Metal tradition with some choirs to end on a solo. The band directly chains with Why And For Whom, another track that could have emerged decades ago. Its fast and powerful rhythmic perfectly brings the chorus, which is one of catchiest ones.
Even if No Limits is a bit less impressive, it could be enjoyable for Heavy Metal fans, but in my opinion it has a lack of personality, except for the voice that will improve quickly. Rain, the record’s true Power Ballad, didn’t seduce me at first. Slow, not really heavy, but long above all. However, it’s a real and complete universe that the band presents us with this composition, and it’s worth the wait. Loudness chose the best track, with the climax at the final to close this record. The limited edition also contains a bonus track, Let’s All Rock. A bit different from what the band usually play, but this one won’t default the japanese’s reputation by getting our toes tapping.
Whereas I heard everywhere that Loudness’ creativity will exhaust, I can tell you for sure that it won’t end immediately. The four japanese guys picks in the past to create new material, and the record looks after itself. Uncommon in our lands, Rising Sun Heavy Metal legends offered us a short half an hour of history at Hellfest in 2016, but it’s a real full tour that Europe is now waiting for!