Loudness - 2-0-1-2

Loudness - 2-0-1-2

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(CD, Tokuma Communications, 2012)

This must be the band with strongest – in numbers – studio discography so far in the Metal business. We’re talking about 27 studio albums here... And LOUDNESS is still marching on. Three out of four original members are present (after the sad passing of drummer Munetaka Higuchi) and “2-0-1-2” is a brand new album for all of you that still shake heads in awe since too little info is said the last 10-15 years for the best Metal export Japan had in the 80s. I think from some point and onwards the band released their discs only in the Japanese market; their previous CD, “Eve To Dawn” was released in the USA too.

No need for history lessons: LOUDNESS was aiming at their home country with their first trio of albums, then signed to MFN and broadened their audience buy releasing a couple of marvelous LPs (“Disillusion” and “Thunder In The East”) until Atco Records offered the American connection and four further discs – two of them having none other than Mike Vescera fronting the band – as the ultimate chance to see LOUDNESS grabbing universal stardom (whoever was familiar with the band by then was already persuaded Takasaki was a helluva guitarist). Whether this was successful or not is subject for a different discussion because not only LOUDNESS but tons of bands got carried away by the change-of-music-map stream in the early 90s.

LOUDNESS walked back in their Far East shell and focused on playing some really weird but also ugly Metal-meets-Hardcore style that lasted for enough years, at least from what I can remember. The last years they have transformed into a mixer of sounds that thankfully does not contain that many distanced extremities, in the musical part to say the least. Speaking for the band’s two last CDs in specific, “King Of Pain” (2010) and “Eve To Dawn” (2011), let’s say that you can expect to listen to a tight sold Metal band that plays not like the old school but has a heavy roaring sound with semi-aggressive vocals and crawling bass lines with furious solos and sharp ‘today’ riffs. Well, the same recipe is followed in “2-0-1-2” too, maybe putting a little bit Takasaki’s rhythm work in the final mix, which is not bad at all (he really is a guitar god, in case you’d like to know him better) but at times leaves the impression that this is a guitarist’s solo work with hired members; you’ll notice this especially at songs where the basic riff is not an e.g. ‘metallic’ one. For one more time there’s this grief for Nihara’s off-balance new Rock tone – but if the band likes the result... - while credit should go to Masayuki Suzuki who is a genuine behind the kit while playing his modern drumming stuff (fluent enough).

No connection with the 80s works of LOUDNESS, if you wonder. No, nope, not. “2-0-1-2” is a nice album with Metal songs the way they are/should be written today and performed by an old band (formed in 1980) that has not only stood the test of time but are heading towards the “longest complete discography” Guinness record.





01. The Stronger
02. 2012End Of The Age
03. Break New Ground
04. Driving Force
05. Behind The Scene
06. Bang’em Dead
07. The Voice Of Metal
08. Who The Hell Cares
09. Spirit From The East
10. Memento Mori
11. Out Of The Space
12. Deep-Six The Law


Minoru Nihara - Vocals
Akira Takasaki - Guitars
Masayoshi Yamashita - Bass
Masayuki Suzuki - Drums