THE DEMO CORNER
Japan masters Loudness have certainly come a long way from its early years. While the band remains despicably under-known here in the States (despite having one of the greatest guitarists in metal in Akira Takasaki) the legacy of the band still remains one of the strongest today for those in the know. In recent years Loudness has adopted a more ‘heavy’ sound, drifting away from the role of the ‘Japanese KISS’ rather nicely and evenly. The latest record in Eve to Dawn showcases much of the same recent crunch we’re becoming accustomed to in the last decade.
The flashy guitar riffs of yesterday have been complimented and, in my eyes, enhanced to a logical plateau. “The Power of Truth” houses one heavy-as-hell riff that sees the best of yesterday’s traditional power meshed with today’s polished, yet potent sound that heavy metal was and is built on. Vocalist Minoru Niihara still has the veteran prowess necessary to decimate the competition with high vocals straight out of the handbook and mid-ranges that lay veritable waste to the vocalists of today that try much too hard and leave nothing but bad tastes on the palate. He never tries to outdo his past or some current upstart vying for position in the upper echelon of the movement; he simply does what he’s been doing for Loudness since 1980. The strength of his delivery is still of utter amazement because the man shows no sign of aging.
The truth be told, I am a larger fan of Loudness’ last few years where they have turned down the tuning and turned up the aggressiveness. Two-thousand-ten’s King of Pain was one of those albums that could kick in your face as easily as it jars your system with a tenacious style of heavy metal that touches all of the varying inspirational bands over the last 30-years or so. “Gonna Do it My Way” is the song that is rife with surface clichés, but all is forgiven when you hear just how good a piece it is in both design and arrangement. Takasaki shows he doesn’t need to flash the virtuoso wares at every turn, opting for a more simple and ‘quick’ guitar solo that would have been insipid had it been extended to any additional length. “Hang Tough” is an ugly, thick, and drawing track to the ears with its intro, only to tap in Judas Priest Painkiller territory with a fast sojourn into what this genre really encompasses. Once you’re acclimated to the speedy resilience of the track, the moody, almost bluesy break throws you off a bit; it’s a brilliant interim until the solo kicks in and then you just come to the conclusion that all logical senses enjoy Loudness to an immense extreme, as well they should. I’m not sure if Niihara was going for a Robert Plant-type vocal here, but he comes pretty close. We need more attentive vocalists like him these days.
The production on Eve to Dawn is as fine as it can be, showing some stellar guitar tones and a very active bass line throughout. The vocals never get lost in the mix, allowing them to be what they supposed to be, and that is an additional instrument to turn the mechanism accordingly. The instrumental piece in “Emotions” is such a perfect musical journey that I cannot be more excited about it. Every instrument is right where it needs to be and fulfills the obligation to entertain and inform.
While the whole of the Loudness back catalog is storied and even frustrating to try and collect all of the discography, piecing it together should prove to be a fun and valuable experience. That said, if you’re unfamiliar with the band try starting here and work your way backwards. I would usually stray from telling people to start at the present of a band’s career, but with what Loudness musically is today is quite a bit off the mark from where they began, even though that era is still a fine metal experience as well. Eve to Dawn departs from the rank and simple typicality of traditional heavy metal and casts no doubts as to what the sound was built upon and where it should ever-cemented be; it’s an album worth the weight it carries and then some.
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1. A Light in the Dark
2. The Power of Truth
5. Keep You Burning
6. Gonna Do It My Way
7. Hang Tough
9. Comes the Dawn
11. Crazy! Crazy! Crazy!
Total playing time: 53:49
Release Date: September 14 ,2011
Label: Jolly Tokuma Japan
Loudness - Eve to Dawn
May 6, 2012