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!
- Crazy Doctor
- In The Mirror
- Crazy Nights
- Like Hell
- Lonely Player
- Street Woman
- Angel Dust
- Rock Shocks
- The Lines Are Down
- Milky Way