LOUDNESS is one of very few, if not the only, Japanese metal bands to have ever made it in the Western part of the world. Though they began in 1981, it wasn’t until 1985 with their album Thunder in the East that they began to take hold in the West. Now they are back with Rise to Glory (out now, earMUSIC) as a follow up to 2014’s The Sun Will Rise Again. It is awesome to see a band include an instrumental track or two on an album, like these guys did with “8118” and “Kama Sutra,” especially since this has become rare nowadays. It used to be that bands would write one here and there, but that practice seems to have been lost, so it’s nice to see it again.
“Soul on Fire” is a heavy and fast paced-rocker. Vocalist Minoru Niihara has a grit in his voice that goes along well with the crunch and distorted guitar playing by Akira Takasaki. This track starts the album off in high-octane style and is followed by another high energy song, “I’m Still Alive.” Drummer Masayuki Suzuki seems to have found a love for a double-kick bass drum in this track, further increasing the energy. “Until I See the Light” brings a more melancholic tone, beginning with soft guitar picking. Masayoshi Yamashita brings in a blues element with his deep bass tonality. The liveliness is quickly brought back up with “Massive Tornado,” in which Suzuki has fun with the double-kick again, perhaps a little bit too much in that it gets a little over the top.
Takasaki has an incredible opening riff in “Rise to Glory” that pays homage to his Eddie Van Halen guitar style influence, while “Rain” brings the vigor back down to a dark melodic style once more before the end. Closer “Let’s All Rock” is fittingly a hopeful rock anthem. This album has quite a high level of power and drive with a few melodic tracks to balance it out. The instrumentals are very intriguing, showing a more experimental and progressive side. With the release of Rise to Glory, LOUDNESS has announced that they plan on embarking on their biggest world tour since the 1980’s.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Soul on Fire”, “Kama Sutra”, “Rise to Glory”