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A superior version of a great metal album - 85%

Death_Thrasher, August 5th, 2012

As I stated in my review of the original, English-language version 'Hurricane Eyes', this album presents a slicker, heavier, more Westernised version of Loudness' sound. The progressive tendencies were out, powerful choruses were in and the production was given a polish the likes of which Loudness' material had never known before. I concluded in that review, however, that while 'Hurricane Eyes' was a great metal album in its own right, it did not quite feel like a 'proper' Loudness album like 'Disillusion' or 'Devil Soldier'. This was partially down to the lack of aforementioned progressive song structures, already largely stripped away by the time 'Thunder in the East' rumbled by, but I realised, upon hearing this Japanese-language version, that it was the lack of Japanese lyrics that was truly crucial to the trademark Loudness sound.

The Japanese version of 'Hurricane Eyes' stands as one of the most powerful Loudness albums, and this is down to the combination of an absolutely cracking album and a career-best performance from vocalist Niihara. This man had already put on a strong performance on the original version of this album, but hearing him belt out 'S.D.I.' and 'Strike of the Sword' in his mother tongue instead of his charming-but-compromised Engrish gave me goosebumps.

Musically, this album is not significantly different to the original; the production is supposedly slightly different, as are the arrangements, but I didn't really pick up on these. Maybe I was too busy being blown away by the new-and-improved vocals. Anyway, for those who have not read my review of the original 'Hurricane Eyes': this is slick, powerful '80s metal along the lines of Dio, Priest, Accept and the like. It is more focussed and less varied than the Loudness of the past and is frequently criticised for being 'commercial'. However, I'd like to urge such naysayers to listen to 'Crazy Nights', 'Let it Go', 'Geraldine' and other older Loudness songs. This band has always had a commercial edge and at least one obviously radio-geared tune per album; I would argue, if anything, that there are no songs here that match the horrendous 'Let it Go' or the nauseating 'Crazy Nights' in the commercial stakes.

Personally, I rank this album much higher than the original version. I admit I heard it after I'd reviewed the original 'Hurricane Eyes', but it was an eye-opening experience. The Japanese vocals improve this album immeasurably. That said, I am fluent in Japanese, so the new vocals may not have such a profound effect on other listeners. Therefore, I will only increase this album's rating by 5% compared to the original. You'll have to pay through the nose to get it, but believe me, it's worth it.