Album Reviews

Loudness – 2.0.1.2 Review

Released by: FrostByte Media

Release Date: Out Now!!!

Genre: Heavy Metal

Links: http://www.loudness.jp/

 

Line Up:

Minoru Niihara (vocals)

Akira Takasaki (guitars)

Masayoshi Yamashita (bass guitar)

Masayuki Suzuki (drums)

 

Tracklist:

01. The Stronger

02. 2012~End 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 (Bonus Track)

 

Since 1985 when I purchased the LP Thunder In the East, the legendary Japanese metal band Loudness has remained one of my top 10 favorite bands of all-time. Sure they went through a weird period in the 90’s when vocalist Minoru Niihara left and they brought in EZO singer Masaki Yamada and Akira stopped being the shredder he was renowned for and started following the grunge and Nu Metal sound some, but they still put out some quality music, even if it didn’t hold true to where the band started. Then in 2001 the original members reunited and embarked on a new chapter in the story of Loudness. I have enjoyed almost everything they have released since the reunion, with a few hitches here and there.

Now, a year after the release of Eve To Dawn, they’re back already with a new album entitled 2.0.1.2. I admit that after the passing of drummer Munetaka Higuchi, I took some time away from the band to grieve his loss. I wasn’t really sure I would want to hear them without his powerful drum work backing them. Recently, I figured it was time to move on and see what they have been up to. Though no one will ever take the place of Higuchi, new skin basher Masayuki Suzuki is a more than capable player. One thing I have noticed about the band since the reunion, but especially on the last few albums, they’ve moved to a heavier sound, however they’ve also started getting back into the almost classic sound. Takasaki’s solos are stunning and brilliant as one would expect from him, but he’s returned to a more shred style of playing again, veering more and more away from the weird experimenting he did in the 90’s and does on his solo work. Niihara’s voice is just as strong as ever as well. 2.0.1.2 is an outstanding return to form for the band, and has been a constant build it seems with the addition of Suzuki. Highlights for me are “Driving Force,” “Bang’em Dead,” “Memento Mori,” and “Break New Ground,” but I’m not really finding any one track on here that I dislike. It’s a powerful and strong release from the masters from the land of the rising sun.

As a lifelong Loudness fanatic, it’s inspiring and awesome to hear they’re still doing it and getting better with time. Though the loss of Higuchi was a tragic one, the band has managed to forge on and keep his spirit alive with some excellent music. Fans that have stuck with them, those who hold on to the past, and new fans alike should be able to take some positive feelings from 2.0.1.2 and rejoice in the fact that Loudness are showing no signs of winding down any time soon.

 

Written by Chris

Ratings    Chris    9/10

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