That brings me to their renowned Thunder in the East, the album that effectively broke them out of their home turf and catapulted them across the globe. The more I think about it, the more I praise the Metal Gods for letting the band leave Japan because a good portion of Japanese music stays hidden in the country, and the world never witnesses the blossoming creativity unless it's specifically sought out. But I digress, however, because that isn't the central point here. The point is Loudness's fantastic music. As I understand it, Thunder in the East brought a slight commercialization in sound compared with previous Japanese-only language records, but alternatively smacks down all lyrics in English. Presumably this was to reach a wider audience, which I don't blame them for, and I'd say it worked out well because the album reached the goal of higher popularity for the band, in no small part thanks to the worldwide exposure. The sound is, to an extent, similar to something you might find on a lighter band's repertoire, albeit with a few fundamental differences that push it over to the heavy metal side of things, namely riffs that scream blitzkrieg, nasty guitar solos, and extended instrumental passages and songwriting typical of traditional heavy metal.
Loudness took heavy metal and made it completely accessible to the mainstream--massive choruses, fist-pumping anthems, and colossal hooks. Without these and Akira Takasaki's ridiculous guitar skills, I fear they would have fallen into the pit of heavy metal bands stink of sub-par musicianship--the ones that are decent, but show nothing explicitly special in terms of song writing. Fortunately for Loudness, they had a special weapon: Takasaki's talent as both a guitarist and songwriter was hard to combat, especially when luck was on the band's side concerning an entrance to worldwide markets. Most tracks on the record are mid tempo rockers--nothing too crazy-- and are crammed with immense guitar solos, some of which are neoclassically-influenced. Ballads pop in from time to time, though they don't exhaust the customary formula, but instead sidestep it all together in favor of unique guitar lines or distinctive hooks. Songs, no matter the type, are awash with the gargantuan guitar riffs, which is really what makes them so special.
From the moment I placed the album in my CD player and "Crazy Nights'" guitar riff broke the silence, I wailed about the metal madness that was surrounding me. The distortion sent me into a craze because of how astonishing it seemed at the time, and even today it still hints at the greatness that came from overseas in Japan. Think about it: if Loudness did not have the balls to break into the worldwide metal scene, where would Japanese metal be in the modern age? I think Sigh, one of the country's other esteemed metal acts, owe a lot to Loudness and Thunder in the East because of that. Would Japanese metal be in its current state without this record? Who knows, but it certainly would not be held in high regard.