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The emperors of heavy metal still run at top speed - 96%

kluseba, October 10th, 2012

Thirty-two years after their foundation, the Japanese Heavy Metal legend Loudness still rocks loud and proud on this twenty-sixth studio album. The band still manages to sound fresh and hungry and some tracks are even heavier than what they have done in their most successful era between the mid-eighties and the early nineties. As there are no ballads on this release, this might even be among the hardest records the band has ever released in its long career. The lyrics of the energizing hymn “Memento Mori” precisely explain the attitude of Loudness: “Let me tell you something – tomorrow’s another day – and yesterday’s away – no matter how fast you run – your life is only once.” Loudness really do apply this “Carpe Diem” ideology and deliver one of their best records ever on here.

The only problem is that many of those energizing tracks sound quite similar. We get crunchy and often simplistic mid-tempo riffs, a refreshingly and vividly pumping bass guitar, a tight but mostly unspectacular drumming and angry raspy vocals singing a couple of catchy and simple hooks. The songs are all great of you take them as single tracks but as a whole they turn out to sound a little bit repetitive. As highlights, I might cite first of all the great opener “The Stronger” that takes no prisoners and shows that these guys never get old. Especially “Driving Force” has a perfect title and features an amazing bass guitar break as well as one of the best and most melodic guitar solos on the entire record. The homage to the late Ronnie James Dio in form of “The voice Of Metal” is an excellent old school heavy metal track with some sing along passages and a few doom metal influences that also come back in the quite dark and heavy “Who The Hell Cares”.

Towards the end of this excellent record, the band even tries out a few more obvious experiments. First of all, there are two instrumentals in form of the mythic and slightly folk influenced “Spirit From The East” that shows us a completely new side of the band and then we also get “Out Of The Space” that sounds indeed a little bit Doom Metal and Ambient influenced and has a slightly transcending or spacey sound. The bonus track “Deep-Six The Law” starts with a great spacey instrumental passage and turns into a bass dominated Doom Metal part before the song gets even heavier and more grounded with really pissed off vocals and a lot of energy. This track happens to be one of the best songs on an absolutely outstanding release.

Shame over you, if you have forgotten Loudness over the years! These guys still rock out and easily beat their Western counterparts these days. If the Mayan prophecy turns out to be true, this band would have at least left planet Earth with one of their best records ever done and a solid dose of energizing and never too old fashioned sounding heavy metal. It’s a sad thing these guys are often ignored by Western media and as long as this continues I will try to put them back on your map.