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Loudness: Rockshocks

Akira Takasaki & the Original Loudness are back, sort of. Their latest release, Rockshocks (Crash Music) is indeed new however, the songs are not! This is an interesting idea of a "best of" album, go back into the studio and re-record 13 tracks of your most classic material from your first 5 records. An idea that I'm not actually sure is the best, to be honest.

Now don't get me wrong, I am one of the biggest Loudness fans here in the West and have spent many a dollar on Japanese imports to keep up with Akira. And there have been many, many releases since their '80's hey day in America. Akira Takasaki will always be in my Top 5 Metal Guitarists of all time, and has sadly, almost criminally been overlooked if not totally forgotten by a lot Metal people, but the man has delivered the goods since the early 80's like NO other guitarist has been able to.

I'm a purest, if not a true "old school" type of guy. I grew up with Akira's awe inspiring guitar tone from the mid 80's. And if you're at all like me, you have that tone etched into your brain, and associate that tone to Akira & Loudness. It was a "trademark" tone. But, this is 2006 & NOT 1986 and Akira has moved on from that tone, as have Loudness in their approach to these classics. What do I mean by that you ask? Well first of all, Akira is ON! Always has been and always will be, but Loudness seems to be trying to "fit in" with the current Metal acts and it shows. I wish that bands from the '80's would do what they do best instead of trying to be "Nu School" and totally re-invent themselves. All of that being said, let's get to the goods!

Now don't let me scare you. The Loudness boys don't stray TOO far from their original formula, but enough for it to be noticed. Tracks get an almost Thrash like overhaul, with more screaming than singing, unlike the original versions. But the great thing about this CD is that Loudness have stayed with material from their first 5 CD's:The Birthday Eve, Devil Soldier,The Law Of Devil's Land, Disillusion and Thunder In the East from which to cover songs from. So the early "Greatest Hits" are well covered. The CD gets going with "Loudness", from The Birthday Eve, into live favorite from Disillusion, "Crazy Doctor". Other favorites "Esper" & "Like Hell" are up next. The fury is all there, but with a 2006 flavor. Singer Minoru Niihara's range isn't what it used to be, but still sounds good, amazing drummer Munetaka Higuchi continues to be the Cozy Powell of Japan and bassist Masayoshi Yamashita holds down the low end. And as usual, Akira is The MAN! A bit older, but If you were able to catch them on tour this Spring, their set list was very similar to the tracks on this CD and they are still awesome.

23 years of great music from several different line ups, have kept Loudness afloat, and this CD, Rockshocks is a nice package of the beginning of their career. Although Loudness have re-recorded these classic's in a "Nu School Metal" type of vain, the songs still shine thru. Akira Takasaki shows why he is a God in Japan and also why he deserves to be one all over the world. The god like guitar tone is a bit different these days, but the goods are still delivered! The original Loudness is back & have actually been together for a few years now, and this trip back down memory lane is a good one and worth a listen. Do yourself a favor and pick up this release & re-discover the Original Japanese Metal Kings!


Track Listing

  1. Loudness
  2. Crazy Doctor
  3. In The Mirror
  4. Crazy Nights
  5. Esper
  6. Like Hell
  7. Lonely Player
  8. Street Woman
  9. Angel Dust
  10. Rock Shocks
  11. The Lines Are Down
  12. Milky Way
  13. Mr.Vesman

Added: August 17th 2006
Reviewer: Butch Jones
Score:
Related Link: Loudness Website
Hits: 1647
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Loudness: Rockshocks
Posted by Ken Pierce, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-08-17 20:00:42
My Score:

When the band first appeared on the US Metal Scene I have to say that I was blown away by the power of some of their music for when they released "Thunder In The East" they were surely setting themselves up for musical success on this side of the ocean. Sadly, Loudness only rose so far in the eyes of fans and while they maintained a core fan base it never really escalated past that and to many the band was no longer interesting or being followed. The band formed originally by Akira Takasaki, Minoru Nihara, Masayoshi Yamashita and Munetaka Higuchi were excellent technicians musically, and were also able to deliver quite the catchy number every so often. Being from Japan this could not have been easy in terms of both the creation of such music and getting acceptance for it with an audience that was finding itself in a Heavy Metal surge that was incredible to behold. During the bands first adventures here we were finding Motley Crue holding strong with bands like Whitesnake, Dokken and Poison growing in popularity, and gaining levels of dominance over various sectors of fans. This release itself is a mystery to me for it is almost a greatest hits collection but instead of finding the tracks I remembered I found complete re-do's of them. To be brutally honest they are less than stellar and it makes one wonder what brings a band to do this kind of stuff in the first place. We saw Twisted Sister do it with "Still Hungry", the complete revisit to the original "Stay Hungry" since this was "how fans should have heard it in the first place". After that dismal release I determined that this is probably done due to licensing and rights to the music that made the band the most success. Re-recording it gives the performer control over the music once again but cheats the listener from what they remembered and does not allow them to think back on the times that they first heard it. There is no reason to redo one's songs in my humble opinion as the band is older and more seasoned and often does not have the same recording luxuries that they might have been afforded in the past. This album sounds mostly muddy at sections and while Akira's guitar playing is still the biggest highlight of their music, the whole presentation is lackluster when you examine the full album. I have to say I would pass on this and hope for a re-mastered and expanded edition of the classic "Thunder In The East" because the only thing shocking to me on this album is in the level of boredom that I found myself in.




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