LOUDNESS: ‘Law Of Devil’s Land’ (B & M AF-7174-B Import)

I’M A sucker for formless, charming trash. My record collection is brimming over with this sort of stuff, because for some hidden reason I can’t explain, I find it irresistible, Thus, despite all the cringing qualities of the third album from Jap wonder men Loudness, I’m compelled to proclaim it a thoroughly wonderful experience.

Hell knows what appeals to me about it. Despite titles like ‘In The Mirror’, ‘Show Me The Way’, ‘Black Wall’, and ‘Mr Yes Man’, all the songs are basically sung in Japanese, disconcertingly interspersed with occasional lapses into English (I distinctly caught the apocalyptic words ‘Smash’, ‘power’, ‘oh’ and ‘yeah’ intoned during ‘Black Wall’ – mega, huh?). And musically, things aren’t much better, If you ever wondered what would happen if the Scorpions suddenly got a craving for Jim Steinman, then Loudness should solve that riddle.

What rip-off merchants they are, too. ‘I Wish You Were Here’ opens with the rift from ‘Crazy Train’ (I knew Ozzv was popular in Japan, but this is ridiculous), whilst ‘Mr Yes Man’ nicks that classic Pavlov’s Dog song ‘Julia’, adds in a touch of Scorpions ‘The Zoo’ and brazenly serves the resultant dish for public consumption.

But, for all their derivative sound, I still love Loudness with a singular fervour – because the whole package is presented with such guileless innocence, and no little talent. Even when they’re ripping off the ‘big noises’, they manage to do it with an unmatched sense of cheek, carrying the songs to absurdly Oil’ proportions and, dare I say it, improving ‘em. Add in the fact that they’ve also a fair smattering of brilliantly conceived true originals like the galloping nobility of ‘Show Me The Way’ and the title track proving there is more to Loudness than other peoples’ work), and what have you got?— one of the best goddam LPs 1983 is gonna throw up, that’s what!

LOUDNESS – Music For Nations Magazine 1984

Loudness are currently Japan’s biggest grossing home act, having built a large and loyal following through hard gigging and some excellent album releases.

Formed in 1981 by AkiraTakasaki (guitar) and Munetaka Higuchi (drums) from the ashes of Japan’s premier pop/rock group Lazy. They were soon joined by ex-Zephyr bass player Masayoshi Yamashita and completing the line-up charismatic Minoru Niihara.

Minoru had been a founder member of Japan’s other leading metal outfit Earthshaker, and his role in Loudness is very much a David Lee Roth character to complement Akira’s Eddie Van Halen.

Their first album release, ‘Birthday Eve’ rocketed them to prominence on the domestic Japanese scene, and the follow-up release ‘Devil Soldier’, though still as heavy as hell showed stunning originality. The band visited Europe to promote their third album ‘Law Of The Devils Land’ playing one date in the UK and on their return to Japan released their thunderous live album.

At this point MFN stepped in to grant a UK release to their first album sung in English ‘Disillusion’ and a handful of UK dates to promote it followed, including a killer show to a packed Marquee club in London ‘Disifiusion’ is undoubtedly Loudness’ finest vinyl outing to date.

Having played in the UK, Europe and more recently the US, they are the one Japanese act who have made their mark on the International Rock Scene.

As time goes by they will, I’m sure, prove to be ever more frequent visitors to Europe bringing with them vitality and excitement all of their own.

Geoff Gillespie.

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