We get it, Loudness…

Back in the mid-eighties, Loudness broke through internationally with an awesome record by the title of ‘Thunder In The East’, their first to feature English lyrics exclusively (if you don’t count the “English edition” of ‘Disillusion’). Its album cover looks like this:

Then, halfway through the first decade of this century, came an album called ‘Breaking The Taboo’. This heavy monster – though not exactly their best effort songwriting-wise – was graced by this cover:

And earlier this month saw the release of their twenty-sixth record ‘The Sun Will Rise Again’. And if you haven’t spotted the pattern yet that I’m trying to point out, let me present to you the cover of that album:

We get it, Loudness. You’re Japanese. I just wish I was there when the album cover was presented to the executives at Universal Music Japan. These guys must have crapped themselves, because I can’t think of any way how three albums with strikingly similar cover artworks are going to be easy to market in any way. Then again, I’m not a businessman, as I have proven many times throughout my life, so maybe I’m overlooking something.

‘The Sun Will Rise Again’, by the way, is the first Loudness record since 2008’s ‘Metal Mad’ that isn’t actually better than its predecessor. And mind you; this is a band consistently churning out albums on an almost yearly basis. Of course, this is master guitarist Akira Takasaki and his crew, so there’s still a handful of enjoyable songs – ‘Never Ending Fire’, ‘Mortality’ and the title track – but after the consistently improving level of songwriting as shown on the last four albums, the album comes off as sort of a letdown.

It’s not bad, it’s just a little stale and tired. The playing is tight – of course, the band consists of downright amazing musicians – and while Minoru Niihara’s voice is rapidly deteriorating – the man’s not getting any younger – you’ve got to appreciate his spirit and dedication. However, ‘The Greatest Ever Heavy Metal’, as one of the songs is called, this is not. Loudness has done so many things that are so much better to know that.

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