Reviewed: February, 2018
Released: 2018, earMusic
Spanning an album career that dates to 1981, it is no overstatement to consider Loudness the premier Japanese metal band of all time. RISE TO GLORY is the band’s 27th LP, a staggering sum that challenges even the most dedicated fan to keep up. I last checked in with the band on 2011’s EVE TO DAWN, a solid but unremarkable album. RISE TO GLORY does indeed rise (pun intended) to the occasion, being some of the most inspired music the band has released in recent memory. For fans of THUNDER IN THE EAST, the new album will be instantly familiar.
The opening instrumental is forgettable, but “Soul On Fire” is a scorcher, featuring the energetic riffing of Akira Takasaki. I am a guitar guy, and Takasaki is one of my favorite players. However, singer Minoru Niihara nearly steals the show throughout the album. He sounds fantastic, much better than when I last heard him on EVE TO DAWN. There are numerous songs on here that hold their own with THUNDER IN THE EAST, such as the fierce “Go For Broke”, showcasing Takasaki’s tasteful and varied playing. Blending driving riffs with melodic solos and clean guitars, Takasaki is backed by a pounding rhythm section.
Loudness continues to be adept at semi-ballads, as evidenced by “The Voice.” “Massive Tornado” presents the heavier side of the band, with considerable weight and metallic crunch. All told, RISE TO GLORY contains thirteen new songs with a runtime of about an hour. Discounting the two throwaway instrumentals, this is an impressive album. Takasaki has clearly found his muse again, but the entire band is galvanized. If you are a fan of the band, it is hard to imagine asking for more at this stage of their career. It does not surpass the albums of the glory years, but the songs certainly are molded in that tradition and it is a fine addition to the extensive Loudness catalog.