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Traditional heaviness meets visionary innovation - 87%

kluseba, October 27th, 2011

The second strike of the more or less infamous Japanese heavy metal legend is not as groundbreaking as their first release but nevertheless a very strong record. There are still a few new interesting elements to find.

Some tracks on the record have a more progressive driven sound and Minoru Niihara's vocals strangely remind me of those of Rush's legendary vocalist Geddy Lee. This isn't a bad thing at all as he has a very unique high pitched and energizing voice. Just listen to the opener "Lonely Player" that also reminds a little bit of Van Halen.

The band has also some really unique guitar riffs by Akira Takasaki on the record that get a more and more technical and dystopian sound. The riffs of "Hard Workin'" remind me a lot of the progressive thrash icons Voivod and their legendary guitar player Denis d'Amour but Loudness created this very unique sound a few years before the Canadians did. I really felt as if I got stroke by a thunder when I listened to this track for the first time. Loudness show that they are still innovating on their second output and they are without a doubt ahead of the times.

Next to some straight traditional heavy metal songs that breathe the fresh energy of the wild early eighties and have not lost their charm at all nowadays such as "Loving Maid", the band also continued to write some diversified and rather calm epic tracks for this very solid release with the highlight being the closing title track "Devil Soldier". There are many melodic and memorable guitar riffs, a great pumping and energizing bass guitar, a solid and diversified drumming plus some great changes in style to find within this little gem.

The only reason why this album gets a weaker rating than the first is that it is less innovating and surprising with the exception of "Hard Workin" and that there is also a true catchy anthem missing on this release. But anybody that liked the first album of the band won't be disappointed with this one neither. This is entertaining, authentic and energizing traditional heavy metal from an exotic country with a couple of positive and even innovating surprises. If you have a chance to get your hands on of the rare copies of this record, don't hesitate if you are a heavy metal maniac.