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Loudness Live Part III: Once And For All - 95%

kgerych1995, April 25th, 2014

I hate most live albums. I skip over almost any live album that is not "Live After Death" or "Strangers In The Night". I don't really know why, i just prefer most studio versions to the live versions. Loudness has always been an excellent exception. Their live albums absolutely trump their studio material, 1993's "Once And For All" especially. After already gushing over the band's 1992 self titled release (see my review if interested), it would seem natural that I would love any live material released by this lineup, correct?

If you said yes, you are absolutely correct. Since this was not released in the U.S until a few years ago when it was made available in Wounded Bird records, I had never known what was in store. The quick summary is that for the price that you pay, you get Loudness plowing through 10 songs, mostly new songs from the self titled album, with a rawer, tighter feel live. The guitar tone is the best part of the disc. Imagine that rich, ultra crunchy tone that Akira has and take that up a notch. The cleans are crystal clear and ring out, loud and clear. The bass tone is noticeably more prominent than in the previous studio album, so Taiji has a little more room to shine, as opposed to his rather muddied and buried tracks on the album. The drums tend to be a tad weak and the vocals tend to be that way as well, especially on the Minoru Niihara era material, like "Crazy Night" and "S.D.I". He falls a tad flat and just does not fit well in those tracks. Rather on tracks like "Down 'N' Dirty", Masaki Yamada breathes new life into a song from the Mike Vescera era of the band, an era that was a real weak point to me.

The real centerpiece of he album for me, what really makes it worth the price is a smoking live rendition of "Everyone Lies", which is preformed faster than the studio version. The little bit added to the intro builds up the ambiance of the song, and it smoothly flows into the rest of the song. Akira's solo is a shredder, as usual. It is his tone that conveys the angry nature of the song. That chewy, nasty tone really adds a venomous edge to the song. Taiji is able to pull of the little solo breakdown in the middle, without seemingly breaking a sweat. Masaki Yamada is giving a performance here, that almost gives the album version a run for the money. Overall this is the best selection of the bunch.

The others, especially the self titled album songs, are quite nice to hear in live form, especially "Black Widow" and "Waking The Dead". The other song worth noting is the cover of EZO's "House Of 1,000 Pleasures", which is pretty close to the original. Akira puts his own flair on the solo. The deep groove of the song is made even deeper by Akira's tone.

Overall I would say that if you are looking for a good live album by Loudness, this one and "8186 Live" run neck and neck, this one featuring lesser known songs, the other featuring the hits and early songs. This one slightly wins for me, being a huge fan of the band's self titled record, otherwise it is highly recommended to any fan of Loudness.