Top 10 Loudness Songs

Loudness Songs

Feature Photo: Frank Schwichtenberg, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Our top 10 Loudness songs list looks at the catalog of one of the most successful Japanese heavy metal bands. The band was formed in 1981 by guitarist Akira Takasaki in conjunction with drummer Munetaka Higuchi. Both Akira and Munetaka were initially members of the pop rock/hard rock/heavy metal band Lazy. The move to form Loudness was motivated by their displeasure with the musical direction of the band Lazy.

Akira Takasaki and his colleagues were inspired to follow the heavy metal path of Bow Wow, a pioneering Japanese heavy metal band. Loudness was not late coming into the Japanese heavy metal scene. After all, the Japanese heavy metal scene was pretty young (though burgeoning and promising). At first, Japanese heavy metal bands barely scored success outside Asia. Set side by side with pioneering British heavy metal bands such as Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple, there was almost no competition!

However, a dedicated Japanese metalheads fanbase and the musicianship of bands like Loudness significantly changed the odds. By the mid-’80s, the Japanese heavy metal scene was already gaining great reception on the global platform. This transformed Japan from just a land of hyperactive and receptive metalheads audiences to a home of remarkable heavy metal artists/bands.

Loudness was at the core of the success of the Japanese heavy metal scene. The band is best known for having churned out the first album by an Asian band to enter the Top 100 on the Billboard 200. Fans of the band Loudness won’t struggle in mentioning Thunder in the East as the subject album in regards to the aforementioned feat.

However, the musicianship of Loudness goes beyond the 1985 album! Still in the game, Loudness remains one of the most dedicated heavy metal bands churning out twenty-eight full-length studio albums to date. The band has also scored a few more studio albums in the Billboard 200. This made Loudness one of the most critically acclaimed heavy metal bands from the Land of the Rising Sun. Let’s now shift our focus to the huge album catalog issued by Loudness over the years.

Immediately after its formation, Loudness issued their debut studio album The Birthday Eve. The album was barely successful featuring a few heavy metal-oriented gems such as “Rock Shock (More and More),” “To Be Demon,” and “Sexy Woman.” Loudness would follow up this album with their 1982 release Devil Soldier. Once again, Loudness failed to achieve mainstream success with Devil Soldier—the album featured musical gems such as “Angel Dust” and “Lonely Player.”

Advancing into 1983, Loudness issued their third studio album The Law of Devil’s Land. The album was fairly successful thanks to the band’s first global tour—Loudness crisscrossed through America and Europe bagging followers with every performance. The Law of Devil’s Land saw the band churn out headbanging gems such as “In the Mirror,” “The Law of Devil’s Land,” and “Speed.”

In 1984, Loudness issued their fourth full-length studio album Disillusion. The album was quite impressive despite not scoring high on the mainstream charts. Disillusion saw the band work audio engineer Julian Mendelsohn who is revered for his prodigious work with Bob Marley, Elton John, INXS, Paul McCartney, and Jimmy Page. “Crazy Doctor,” “Dream Fantasy,” “Esper,” and “Ares’ Lament” are some of the most popular songs by Loudness from the album Disillusion.

After gaining some momentum with its first four studio albums, Loudness issued their most remarkable record Thunder in the East. The album was produced by Paul Cooper in conjunction with Max Norman. Max is best known for his work with Ozzy Osbourne, Lizzy Borden, Megadeth, Lynch Mob, and Bad Company among others.

Thunder in the East went ahead to rise to the fourth spot on the Oricon (Japanese) Albums Chart. The album ushered to massive success in the US where it peaked at position seventy-two on the Billboard 200. Thunder in the East is arguably Loudness’ most successful album (not the highest-charting though). “Crazy Nights,” “Like Hell,” “Never Change Your Minds,” and “Heavy Chains” are the best Loudness songs from Thunder in the East.

Loudness issued their sixth studio album Shadows of War in 1986. The US remix of the band went under the title Lightning Strikes. Loudness worked once again with Max Norman in the production of this record. Lightning Strikes remains Loudness’ highest-charting album on the Billboard 200 having risen to the sixty-fourth spot. “Let It Go,” “Shadows of War,” “Ashes in the Sky,” and “Black Star Oblivion” are the most popular songs by Loudness from the album Lightning Strikes.

Hurricane Eyes, issued in 1987, marked the band’s seventh studio album. The album featured production contributions from Eddie Kramer. Eddie is best known for his work with The Beatles, Kiss, Jimi Hendrix, The Kinks, Led Zeppelin, Whitesnake, and the Rolling Stones among others. Hurricane Eyes marked Loudness’ final album to ever grace the Billboard 200 peaking at position one hundred and ninety.

Hurricane Eyes only stayed on the Billboard 200 Chart for four weeks. The Japanese version of the album Hurricane Eyes went ahead to peak at number thirty-four on the Oricon Album Chart. “This Lonely Heart,” “So Lonely,” “Strike of the Sword,” and “S.D.I.” are the best Loudness songs from the album Hurricane Eyes.

Loudness returned in 1989 with their eighth studio album Soldier of Fortune. The album marked yet another record to have featured Max Norman on the production duties. Max Norman co-produced this album alongside Roger Probert. Roger is best known for his production duties in records by Fates Warning, Laurie Beechman, Poison Dollys, and The Fools.

Soldier of Fortune marked the first album by Loudness to feature American singer Mike Vescera. Mike Vescera also served as the lead vocalist of the American heavy metal band Obsession. Soldier of Fortune earned a great critical reception, especially in the US. However, the album failed to achieve mainstream success. “You Shook Me,” “Soldier of Fortune,” “Running for Cover,” and “Faces in the Fire” are some of the most popular songs by Loudness from the album.

Mike Vescera went ahead to feature on the band’s ninth studio album On the Prowl. This 1991 eleven-track album only contained three new songs. The rest of the songs on the LP On the Prowl were self-covers performed in English. Loudness failed to earn mainstream acclaim with the album On the Prowl. As a result, the band terminated its recording contracts with the American record labels.

Loudness’ next effort was their eponymous tenth studio album. The album was issued in 1992 through Warner Music Japan. Loudness features former X Japan member Taiji Sawada on the bass guitar. The album remains the band’s highest-charting studio album on the Oricon Albums Chart where it rose to the second spot. “Everyone Lies,” “Firestorm,” “Black Widow,” and “Racing the Wind” are the best Loudness songs from the album.

The journey to review every single album by Loudness is quite lengthy! However, after many years in the heavy metal scene, the band is still rocking hard and heavy. Loudness recently released their twenty-eighth studio album Sunburst in 2021. The release of Sunburst came at a time the band was celebrating four decades of nothing but pure heavy metal.

Sunburst now sits as the third highest-charting album by the band on the Oricon Albums Chart where it peaked at the fifth spot. “Heaven’s Door” and “Oeoeo” are some of the most popular songs by Loudness from the album.

Loudness’ Legacy

Loudness remains one of the most successful Japanese heavy metal bands to date. The band hit its peak in the mid- ‘80s with three of its albums making it to the Billboard 200. Despite diminished global attention, the band is still active in the music scene. The band has churned out a total of twenty-eight studio albums engaging its fans through the decades.

Working to push Loudness into stardom in the heavy metal scene to date is the band’s founder guitarist Akira Takasaki. Arguably, his solid musicianship on the guitar remains the pillar upon which Loudness build its success. Let’s now have a look at our top 10 Loudness songs sampled from the band’s vast album catalog.

#10 – Soul on Fire

We start our top 10 Loudness songs review with one of the most recent tracks by the band “Soul on Fire.” The song is featured on the album Rise to Glory. “Soul on Fire” is an intense effort that displays the band’s enduring impact in the heavy metal scene. With three of the band’s original members featured in this song, it is quite evident that time hasn’t “weather-beaten” Loudness’ musicianship.

The intensity at which this song is delivered showcases the band’s ability to replicate its ‘80s-Esque burning passion for heavy metal. Loudness’ missing piece for this album was drummer Munetaka Higuchi who died back in 2008. However, Masayuki Suzuki has proven to be a perfect replacement of the late Munetaka on the drums. His exquisite skills are quite vivid in the song “Soul on Fire.”

#9 – King of Pain

“King of Pain” is yet another musical gem that brings out the best of Masayuki’s drumming skills. The song begins with an impressive drum solo from Masayuki helping him earn solidify his position in the band. Masayuki was earlier featured on the band’s twenty-second LP The Everlasting where he only played the drums on the song “I Wonder.”

Fast forward to the band’s twenty-third studio album King of Pain, Masayuki feels like a longtime-serving member of Loudness. His endearing musicianship blends in with the skillful artistry of other Loudness members. Complementing Masayuki’s blistering drum strums in this song was guitarist Akira Takasaki with his impressive guitar riffs.

#8- Everyone Lies

Ranking eighth on our top 10 Loudness songs list is the raging hit “Everyone Lies.” The song is a timeless gem from the band’s 1992 eponymous tenth studio album. Like most of the songs on the album Loudness, “Everyone Lies” starts with melodic guitar riffs which makes the intro quite incredible. However, the major takeaway from this song is its slamming hot bass rhythm.

Serving the basslines on this song is none other than former X Japan member Taiji Sawada. Taiji is arguably one of the best bass guitarists of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s in Japan (if not the best). His skills are quite conspicuous in other songs on the album such as “Firestorm.” However, we picked out “Everyone Lies” thanks to its accessible lyrics which help us dive into the excellence of Masaki Yamada on the vocals.

#7- In the Mirror

“In the Mirror” is arguably the most impressive song released by Loudness prior to the band’s rise to the global platform. The song is featured on the band’s third studio album The Law of Devil’s Land. “In the Mirror” encapsulates Loudness’ musical prowess on The Land of Devil’s Land. The song starts with a penetrating guitar riff from Akira—the powerful guitar riff sets the melodic and energetic tone of this song!

“In the Mirror” also went a step further to showcase the band’s lyrical depth. The lyrics of this impressive pick were penned by the band’s original vocalist Minoru Niihara. In this song, the band in exploring themes of self-reflection in pursuit of one’s identity. “In the Mirror” also showcases the impassioned vocal delivery thanks to his dynamic range and raw emotions.

#6- You Shook Me

Coming in sixth on our top 10 Loudness songs list is the electrifying hit “You Shook Me.” The song is featured on the band’s eighth studio album Soldier of Fortune. “You Shook Me” is among the few songs by Loudness that featured American vocalist Mike Vescera. Mike Vescera is quite a remarkable heavy metal vocalist earning acclaim for his exquisite musicianship.

Thanks to Mike’s outstanding vocal delivery he featured on several albums by the Swedish guitar legend Yngwie Malmsteen. However, don’t confuse this song with the track “You Shook Me” by Muddy Waters (which was also covered by Led Zeppelin, Jeff Beck, and Bryan Adams). “You Shook Me” by Loudness features a music video that features Mike playing around his bandmates.

#5- This Lonely Heart

Hurricane Eyes, the band’s seventh studio album, is home to the fifth pick on our top 10 Loudness songs “This Lonely Heart.” The song is among the final songs to have earned massive critical acclaim in the US. “This Lonely Heart” showcases the lyrical prowess of the band’s original vocalist Minoru Niihara. In this song, Minoru powerfully delivers a heartfelt performance that complements its emotional intensity.

“This Lonely Heart” is among the songs that manage to convey the raw emotions and vulnerability of Minoru’s lyricism. The song featured a music video directed by the British film and music video director Nigel Dick. Other artists who have worked with Nigel include Tears for Tears, Guns N’ Roses, Oasis, Black Sabbath, Alice in Chains, and Def Leppard to name a few.

#4- Let It Go

“Let It Go” is yet another track that achieved mild success in the US market. The song is featured on the band’s album Lightning Strikes. “Let It Go” achieved success partly due to its radio-ready sound. The song remains to be the most sought-after track off Lightning Strikes. However, it receives quite some competition from the “Shadows of War” and the ‘controversial’ track “Ashes in the Sky” which saw Loudness castigated by their Japanese fans for glorifying’ the viciousness in combats.

#3- Like Hell

Ranking third on our top 10 Loudness songs list is the pulsating hit “Like Hell.” The song introduces us to the energy-filled and critically acclaimed fifth studio album Thunder in the East. “Like Hell” showcases the band’s signature heavy metal sound. In this song, Loudness blends Akira’s aggressive guitar riffs with melodic elements.

This fast-paced pick also exhibits the musicianship of Masayoshi Yamashita who delivers pulsating basslines. Masayoshi’s basslines perfectly blend in with Munetaka Higuchi’s fast (yet precise) drum strums yielding one of the most remarkable rhythm sections by Loudness. It’s quite unfortunate that our list doesn’t feature “Heavy Chains,” another pulsating track from the album Thunder in the East.

#2- Soldier of Fortune

Despite not making it to the mainstream charts, the band’s album Soldier of Fortune remains one of the best releases by Loudness. Roger Probert (who worked with Fates Warning) didn’t an amazing job on this album as showcased once more by this album’s title track. “Soldier of Fortune” also serves as the album-opening track to the band’s eighth LP,

The song is an emblem of the band’s emotional resonance and artistic brilliance on the album Soldier of Fortune. Setting “Soldier of Fortune” apart from other songs on the album is Akira Takasaki’s brilliant guitar skills. Akira delivers intricate guitar solos and memorable hooks enough to crown him the Asian guitar god (of course, he is one of the most underrated guitarists in the heavy metal scene)!

#1- Crazy Nights

Ranking first on our top 10 Loudness songs list is the high-energy track “Crazy Nights.” “Crazy Nights” rose to become the band’s signature song after its release in 1984. The song is featured on the band’s most successful album Thunder in the East. “Crazy Nights” features some heavy chants “M-Z-A” which Niihara came up with during the recording process of this song—the chants have no meaning though.

This thrilling ride into Japanese heavy metal has endured the test of time proving to be the most memorable song by Loudness. Its tight arrangement showcases the band’s technical prowess, something that set Loudness apart from many Japanese heavy metal bands. Both rookie and longtime metalheads can attest to the exhilarating musical experience delivered by the hit “Crazy Nights.” The song was covered by several prominent metal bands including Therion, Children of Bodom, and HammerFall.

Top 10 Loudness Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2023

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