Loudness - The Sun Will Rise Again (2014)
Reviewed by Sebastian Kluth
The immortal Japanese heavy metal institution Loudness comes around with its twenty-eighth studio record in thirty-three years. The cover artwork and album title, The Sun Will Rise Again, reference the band’s breakthrough record Thunder In The East from 1985, but don’t be fooled by this clever marketing strategy. The new album doesn’t feature as many catchy choruses, doesn’t blend genres as much, and doesn’t have the commercial appeal that the band’s fifth release does. The new album features ten mean heavy metal anthems plus a short instrumental introduction, and is much more similar to recent outputs like Eve To Dawn, for example. Most metal bands try to experiment by writing softer songs, going into more progressive directions, or trying to reinvent themselves with the help of new musicians or weird collaboration efforts. This is not Loudness’ case at all. If you are looking for emotional ballads, experimental fireworks, or a change of style on a modern release, you’re at the wrong address. This is exactly why Loudness has become one of the most authentic, consistent, energizing, and honest veteran bands in the whole wide world, and deserves our attention, money, and respect. The quartet is really working hard for success, and continues releasing good to excellent records in very short time spans. The Sun Will Rise Again is not as stunning as the nearly perfect predecessor 2012, but it’s certainly as energizing as Eve To Dawn.
Everything sounds tight and harmonious on this record, as is usual for Loudness. The riffs are powerful, the guitar solos are pure melodic ecstasy, the rhythm section of bass guitar and drums is energizing as always, and the vocals are as unique, rebellious, and sympathetically raspy as they have always been. Niihara’s Japanese accent and charismatic lyrics tell us about authentic heavy metal lifestyles, hopeful and strong emotions, and an untamable desire for freedom. Only the slightly-too modern production is a problem – it could have been a little bit more organic and old school to fit the material, in my opinion.
One of the highlights here includes the tight heavy metal anthem “Mortality”, with its galloping riffs and multiple vocal efforts during the pre-chorus and the engaging chorus itself. This is the kind of song that needs to be played live to unfold all its energy. “The Metal Man” fits into the same category. This song is a little bit slower and, while the riffs are not spectacular, the rhythm section is definitely delivering the goods. The chorus is even more effective and invites you to yell along, raise your fist up in the air, and bang your head. In less than three minutes, Loudness delivers a classic heavy metal anthem that should please the old school fans but sounds powerful enough to delight younger audiences. Loudness is also able to grab our attention in the longer tracks, even though some of them might take some time to grow on you. “The Best” is probably the coolest long track here. It easily beats the eight-minute mark and opens with a few cool, minimalist bass guitar licks and precise drumming before thundering riffs, furious vocals, and angry sing-along passages kick in. This mixture of calmer breaks and powerful main parts is repeated and garnished with a few smart guitar effects and an almost funky, jazzy middle section where the bass guitar play stands out.
In the end, Loudness delivers three outstanding tracks, as well as a couple more energizing anthems like the pitiless opener “Got To Be Strong” and the engaging sing-along of “Never Ending Fire”, and a couple of good, average heavy metal songs in the weaker second half of the record. While this album might only be just that – “good average”, amongst Loudness’ impressive discography (and can’t beat the vivid 2012), it’s still miles ahead of everything released by bands of similar age and style over the previous year or two. Despite its age, Loudness is still alive and well and has a lot of interesting things left to say. If you like authentic, powerful, and technically well-executed heavy metal but you despise the high amount of exchangeable retro bands, this release is all you need. If you want to discover one of the most important heavy metal pioneer bands that deserves to be mentioned alongside Judas Priest and Iron Maiden, please start your journey chronologically. I know that listening to twenty-eight records might take some time, but Loudness has a rich and deserving history, which The Sun Will Rise Again only adds to.
3.25 // 5