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Awesome Album! - 98%

BlackWidow1992, January 27th, 2008

Many Loudness fans consider the Mike Vescera era albums pointless and faceless, which is not true in any way. "Soldier of Fortune", the first album with Vescera, is a shred fest from beginning to end.

Lets start out with the vocals. Mike Vescera gives the performance of his life here. Every song he sings, from the title track all the way to "Demon Disease", is filled with power and emotion. Even the ballads are great with his voice at the helm. There is not one bad thing I can say about his voice.

Akira Takasaki's guitar work on this album is godly. No, beyond godly, its simply awe inspiring. Akira is known around the world as one of the greatest guitarists to ever come out of the east, and he surely proves it on this album. Every song's lead is amazing, every riff and melody is played with technique and taste in mind, it's just something you have to hear to believe. His guitar playing alone is the reason every metal head should have this album.

The rhythm section is great as always. Masayoshi Yamashita does a great job on the bass, as his basslines are clearly audible and actually stand out with the music. If you want to hear a great bassline, check out "Faces in the Fire", as its the best bass performance he's ever done, next to the live bass solo on "8186 Live". Munetaka Higuchi's drum work is great on this album as well. He adds power to songs like "Faces in the Fire" and the title track with his ferocious drumming.

All the songs are great. Though one complaint is that there are alot of ballads on this album, but since the ballads are great it doesn't really hurt the album too much. The song writing is excellent, and the compositions are great too.

Mike Vescera's excellent voice, Akira's inspiring guitar work, a super solid rhythm section, and great song writing make this one of Loudness's best albums. You can still find this relatively cheap on the internet, so if you have a love for great metal and insane guitar work, then by all means by this album! My overall grade for this album is an A +.