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Loudness Part 1

Okay, I owe you guys at least one big long mega-post, if not more, but here is the first of a two part
installment from Japanese metaloids Loudness.....though not nearly as good and much harder to take seriously than the great Eternal Elysium, they have knocked out a solid riff or three in their long career, do material in both English and Japanese, and have tried to capitalize, at least to a degree, on every trend in hard rock that has come along over the last 30 years, something akin to a (wait for it) Japanese Spinal Tap.

Formed in the early 80's in Osaka, Loudness were the brainchild of guitarist Akiri Takasaki and drummer Munetka Higuchi, rounded out with bassist Masayosi Yamashita and singer Minoru Niihara. Thier first release was 1981's (Japanese language) "The Birthday Eve".....knowing as you do my weakness for non-English language rock, it won't be hard to guess that it's kind of a guilty pleaseure of mine......titles like "To Be Demon" and "Rock Shock" only make it more fun. Kind of hair-glam sounding metal, the kind I generally dislike when it's in English.

They caught a niche and quickly released a flurry of albums: 1982's "Devil Soldier", 1983's "Law of Devil's Land", and 1984's "Dislillusion", all of which share a good bit of similarity with the first effort, and all of which I have something of a fondness for......"Disillusion", interestingly enough, was recut with English language vocals in search of a US/Eurpoean audience, I have included both efforts here, it is LOADS of fun to listen to them back to back.

Thier first international release, then, came in 1985 with "Thunder in the East", which included thier first approximation of a hit US single ("Crazy Nights"), and a good many other Twisted Sister/Guns N Roses style hard glam rockers......I know I am likely feeding you an overdose of this stuff, but it ain't like yer uncle to do shit half-ass, now is it?

The next release was 1986's "Lightning Strikes" (US)/"Shadows of War" (Japan), agqain, I will
include both for your approval......my opinion was that by this time, the "joke" was wearing fairly thin and as the band searched for yet MORE mainstream acceptance, they wound up sounding fairly silly. You be the judge.

They released an EP "Jealousy" in 1988, and then moved on a suggestion (a poor one IMO) that an English speaking singer could gain them mainstream fame and fortune (don't recall that happening, do you?)......American vocalist Mike Vescara was recruited, and the novelty of simply "being Japanese" no longer reamained, and they sounded more and more like a 1000 other American hair-metal bands, as we know, NOT one of my favorite of the genres. They released a couple of albums, "Soldier of Fortune" and "On the Prowl", the latter of which consists mostly of Vescara's English language takes on older, "classic" Loudness material....my advice: avoid at all costs (even though I'm "generously" providing them as well). This tactic worked about as well as one might predict, as they gained no traction in the US AND lost popularity in Japan as well.......Vescara left the band soon afterward....the band regrouped and returned to Japan, making personnel adjustments and starting "over", adjusting their sound in an attempt to capitalize on currently popular "grunge" sounds......in the next post, we will investigate post-1991 Spinal Ta......uh, I mean Loudness, always an interesting if not always the greatest in musical offering.

THE BIRTHDAY EVE-01 Loudness/02 Sexy Woman/03 Open Your Eyes/04 Street Woman/05 To
Be Demon/06 I'm On Fire/07 High Try/08 Rock Shock (More and More)

DEVIL SOLDIER-01 Lonely Player/02 Angel Dust/03 After Illusion/04 Girl/05 Hard Working/06 Loving Maid/07 Rock the Nation/08 Devil Soldier

THE LAW IN DEVILS LAND-01 In the Mirror/02 Show Me the Way/03 I Wish You Were Here/04 Mr Yes Man/05 Black Wall/06 Sleepless Night/07 Speed

DISILLUSION (ENGLISH)-01 Anthem (Loudness Overture)/02 Crazy Doctor/03 Esper/04 Butterfly/05 Revelation/06 Exploder/07 Dream Fantasy/08 Milky Way/09 Satisfaction Guarenteed/10 Ares Lament

DISILLUSION (JAPANESE)-01 Crazy Doctor/02 Esper/03 Butterfly/04 Revelation/05 Explorer/06 Dream Fantasy/07 Milky Way/08 Satisfaction Guarenteed/09 Ares' Lament

THUNDER IN THE EAST-01 Crazy Nights/02 Like Hell/03 Heavy Chains/04 Get Away/05 We Could Be Together/06 Run For Your life/07 Clockwork Toy/08 No Way Out/09 The Lines Are Drawn/10 Never Change Your Mind

SHADOWS OF WAR-01 Shadows of War/02 Let It Go/03 Streetlife Dreams/04 Black Star Oblivion/05 1000 Eyes/06 Complication/07 Dark Desire/08 Face to Face/09 Who Knows (Time to Take a Stand)

LIGHTNING STRIKES-01 Let It Go/02 Dark Desire/03 1000 Eyes/04 Face to Face/05 Who
Knows/06 Ashes In the Sky/07 Blackstar Oblivion/08 Streetlife Dreams/09 Complication

JEALOUSY (EP)-01 Jealousy/02 Long Distance Love/03 Good Things Going/04 Die of Hunger/05 Heavier Than Hell/06 Dreamer and Screamer

SOLDIER OF FORTUNE-01 Soldier of Fortune/02 You Shook Me/03 Danger of Love/04 Twenty Five Days/05 Red Light Shooter/06 Running For Cover/07 Lost Without Your Love/08 Faces in the Fire/09 Long After Midnight/10 Demon Disease

ON THE PROWL-01 Down N Dirty/02 Playin Games/03 Love Toys/04 Never Again/05 Deadly Prayer/06 Take It Or Leave It/07 Girl/08 Long Distance/09 In the Mirror/10 Sleepless Night/11 Find a Way

Buncha stuff here, pick and choose wisely, it's not all THAT great even though it IS amusing....in
particular, I recommend the Disillusion pair (both the English and Japanese versions), I find them amusing, and the earlier stuff.......tomorrow we will recap the rest of thier Spinal Tap-like career!

Let me know what you think of these, and let me know if there's anything else I can do for you this week.....I am back, and my computer is running like NEW......thought I was gonna have to invest in a new one, but I maybe be able to squeak another year outta this one for a mere 95 bucks......

Even thier album covers are almost self-mocking "spinal tap"-like, but dont take it wrong, that is FUCKING GREAT!

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