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Loudness - 2005 Racing

Minoru Niihara - vocals
Akira Takasaki - guitars
Yamashita Masayoshi - bass
Higuchi Munetaka - drums

Most of us will remember Loudness as that Japanese band that emerged from the shadow of Bow Wow to become one of Japan's most successful rock exports. During their heyday era of the eighties, the band released some great albums: 'Thunder In The East' and 'Disillusion' being a couple. Toward the end of the eighties, the band tinkered with Americanized pop metal, represented on albums such as 'Lightning Strikes' and 'Hurricane Eyes'. The Western World loved it, but to be fair, it wasn't really the true Loudness that created havoc back at the start of the decade. To compound things, the band went in all sorts of weird directions through the nineties, leaving die-hard supporters even more confused. Guitarist Akira Takasaki kept the band going, using different band members, and playing in different styles, including modern metal, grunge and industrial styles. In 2001, Takasaki reformed with the original band members, 'Racing' is a late 2004 release (in Japan) and 2005 English release elsewhere. 'Racing' has been written up as a case of the old meets new. I'm not so sure of that, the album is really an experimentation with modern styles, nothing resembling their eighties material at all! And when I mean modern, I am talking about nu-metal, modern rock with grunge elements etc.

The Songs
Mostly it is a case of 'manic' meets 'shred', that is Niihara's vocals meeting Takasaki's guitar in an industrial grinder! The thrash demonics and quicktime drumming of 'Lunatic' will drive away any fluffy pretensions anyone might have had about this band. The accurately named 'Speed Maniac' drives this one beyond the legal limit, while 'Crazy Samurai' and 'Misleading Man' take on the challenge of trying to stay melodic and relevant. But with overamped vocals and downtuned guitars, that is near enough to impossible. 'Live For The Moment' is an interesting track, like metallized power-pop while 'Don't Know Nothing' spins off on a psychedelic vibe from the sixties, but again with a metal-hardened powder-coating of sonic lacquer.

In Summary
I'm not really certain that a review of 'Racing' is warranted on this site. Perhaps on a full-blown metal site yes, but not a melodic rock site like this one. However I started writing it, so I decided to finish it. To my way of hearing, the vocals needed to be pumped up in the mix, it sounds very pushed back. Fans of nineties era Pantera and Judas Priest might find some joy with it, but most of you would rather listen to their eighties stuff. Well like most things, the band has moved on and some of their fans haven't. That says more about us than the band I reckon. Not good eh? However, what is good value are the fourteen tracks, but really, I am sure you would struggle through this CD in one-sitting. Good luck for trying!


Track Listing:
01 Racing
02 Exultation
03 Lunatic
04 Believe It Or Not
05 Power Generation
06 Speed Maniac
07 Live For The Moment
08 Crazy Samurai
09 Tomorrow Is Not Promised
10 Telomerase
11 R.I.P.
12 Misleading Man
13 Don't Know Nothing
14 Unknown Civilians


Related Articles:
Loudness - 1985 Thunder In The East
Loudness - 2005 Racing

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#1 | jeffduran on May 27 2008 00:07:54
Absolute Rubbish! Loudness last decent release was the 1989 Mike Vescara fronted 'Soldiers Of Fortune' and perhaps some elements of 'On The Prowl'. The direction the band veered in during the 90's-2000's was embarrassing to say the least. One of my favorite 80's bands and guitar players. Cliche: Japanese counterparts to Van Halen!
#2 | melodiapositiva on May 02 2017 19:40:45
Soldiers of fortune is definetly the best thing this band ever did.They had a good singer at last and akira work was awesome.
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