It was all the way back in the summer of 1985 when I first heard “Crazy Nights” by Loudness. I remember thinking then- “who the hell are these guys and why have I never heard of them before now?” Well here it is over 30 years later and I know who they are now, they’re Loudness.
It’s been over 40 years and the band has remained unchanged other than during the 90’s. It’s been Akira Takasaki on guitar since day one followed by Minoru Niihara on vocals, Masayoshi Yamashita on bass and Masayuki Suzuki on drums. He replaces original drummer Munetaka Higuchi who died from liver cancer in 2009.
It’s been clear from day one that the guitar work of Takasaki is second to none and that has been the driving force behind some of their most important albums. Such as Thunder In The East, Lightning Strikes, Hurricane Eyes and their EP Jealousy. That holds true for their newest release Rise To Glory too.
It starts off with “8118,” a long winded intro that goes nowhere quick. The same holds true for “Kama Sutra,” another one that just misses the mark somehow. Up next is a video track for “Soul On Fire.” It’s got a solid guitar groove, but the real surprise is the top notch solo. It’s absolute perfection.
The blast beat drumming on “I’m Still Alive” is in your face. While “Go For Broke” does just that with another stellar solo. At the same time “Until I See The Light” and “Rain” are driven by a slower much more methodical guitar riffs and the song “The Voice” is saying please stop.
“Massive Tornado” hits with all the stopping force of an F5, then the solo envelops you, it tears you up then spits you out. Then just like the title suggests we all must “Rise To Glory.” “Why And For Whom” and “No Limits” would be somewhat unremarkable if it weren’t for the furious guitar work of Akira Takasaki. They are a true headphone experience for your listening pleasure. It ends with the battle cry heard all across the land “Let’s All Rock.”
Here’s the bottom line- while this is far from their best effort there is still enough good songs and mindboggling solos from Akira Takasaki to make it worth your time.
Rating: 7 out of 10