Released: 2011, Tokuma Japan
I have always considered Loudness to be Japan’s finest metal band, even though EZO was pretty good as well. Over 30 years have elapsed since the band formed, and EVE TO DAWN continues to boast most of the classic lineup for Westerner’s, the same fellows that released their most popular release, THUNDER IN THE EAST. Sadly deceased drummer Munetaka Higuchi is obviously absent, but Masayuki Suzuki’s thunderous drumming has been filling the void for the past 3 years. Incredibly, even astonishingly, EVE TO DAWN is the band’s 24th studio album a prolific output that rivals almost any band currently active.
EVE TO DAWN arrives two years after KING OF PAIN, and as promised by guitar wizard, Akira Takasaki is a guitar centered album. Not to say that Suzuki does not have his say, as double bass opener “A Light In The Dark” demonstrates a tune that could have easily been included on Priest’s PAINKILLER album. PAINKILLER is clearly the inspiration for much of the album, Loudness joining Primal Fear in their worship of that influential album. Nihara’s vocals are now gruffer and his upper range is quite high, but sounds a bit strained on “Survivor”. This is not surprising considering the guy is a grizzled veteran at this point. Takasaki delivers chunky and fast riffs, with occasional mid-paced chugs but mostly everything is up tempo. Long gone are any vestiges of flash and commercialism the band embraced in the late 80s. This has been replaced with a fiery and aggressive sound that rips through 11 heavy songs.
Despite the heavy and mostly cool riffs of Takasaki, a few nagging weaknesses hinder the album. First is the fairly anemic production that is robbed of much of the bottom end and the drums sound mostly like cardboard boxes, while guitars are front and centered. There are also some real shit kickers on here, like “Gonna Do It My Way”, that is just way too in love with Punk music and really utter crap. For every cool riff like on “Hang Tough” there is some song or piece of a song that fails, like the funkish “Crazy! Crazy! Crazy!” Lastly Nihara is hit or miss on much of the album, the guy just not having the power in his vocals to carry the high notes with any depth, coming across as tinny and thin. Ultimately, you cannot fault the band’s energy and heaviness, and Takasaki is still underappreciated by metal heads the world over. EVE TO DAWN is by no means a bad album, but it is also not going to bring back the glory days of the band, and maybe they are fine with that.