Loudness – King Of Pain
For three decades, Japanese warriors LOUDNESS has been churning out solid heavy metal.
After the kamikaze attack of 2009’s The Everlasting comes another brilliant headbanger, King Of Pain. LOUDNESS seems to be getting better with age. Their maturity in their songwriting and musicianship is top-notch.
The band is pretty much intact with the original members, with newcomer drummer Masayuki Suzuki on board. Guitarist Akira Takasaki’s masterful knowledge of riff-wielding slays like a samurai warrior. The banshee screams from vocalist Minoru Niihara, although a bit weathered with age, are abundant. Bassist Masayoshi Yamashita’s funk-style playing has always been dominant in LOUDNESS’ music, and he lays the groundwork that holds the rhythm section together.
On King of Pain, you’ll bear witness to fiery guitar solos, steady bass lines, precision drumming and catchy anthemic choruses. Although the choruses are not as strong as, say, “Crazy Nights” or anything off Lightning Strikes, but they have a slightly different approach. There’s still plenty of headbanging riffs that just keep coming at you.
The 3:00 instrumental intro “Requiem” serves as a tribute to their original drummer, the late Munetaka Higuchi. The title track then kicks off with a bombardment of explosive drum fills from Suzuki. I’m glad LOUDNESS recruited another Japanese drummer to keep the vibe going. There was a period where they lost their way a bit in their musical direction from ‘89 to ‘91 by recruiting American singer Mike Viscera (OBSESSION) to try and gain more US fans.
This is actually an album where the songs get stronger and heavier toward the end of the disc, with tracks “Emma” “Naraka,” “Hell Fire” and “#666.” However, the middle of the album tends to drag a bit, and if four or five songs would have been left off, it would have made the rest of the album even stronger. LOUDNESS can still burn and rip like no other band that I can think of. King Of Pain should be a definite purchase.
By Kelley Simms