LOUDNESS – World Tour 2018 – Rise to Glory – Live in Tokyo (2019 Ear Music)
In an unfortunate twist of events, Loudness drummer Masayuki Suzuki was sidelined by stroke and could not perform on the Rise to Glory tour. Ryuichi “Dragon” Nishida filled in beat-for-beat and appears on the live album World Tour 2018 – Rise to Glory – Live in Tokyo. This 2 CD/1 DVD combo set is compiled from three days in Tokyo, with a bonus: the DVD features one track with Masayuki Suzuki from the fourth day. His performance on “Loudness” is as if there was nothing wrong with him, and he appears delighted to be playing live again.
Live in Tokyo is an energized performance, focusing almost entirely on early Loudness. This being a hometown crowd, many of the songs are performed with their original Japanese lyrics. 1985’s Thunder in the East takes the early focus on disc one with the first six tracks all being sourced from the “big” album. These tracks are intense, with solos by Akira Takasaki that melt the face. Classic Loudness with jagged riffs and still-powerful vocals from Minoru Niihara.
Oldies abound. Disc 1 also includes “Loudness” (the version with Ryuichi Nishida on drums) from the 1981 debut The Birthday Eve. A slick, well-received version. There’s also a punishing “In the Mirror” from third LP The Law of Devil’s Land, and the memorable “Crazy Doctor” from 1984’s Disillusion.
The second disc spotlights two lesser-known albums. First is The Law of Devil’s Land from 1983. The first five heavy numbers (including a second version of “In the Mirror”) all come from that platter. This is the heavy proto-thrash that Loudness were peddling at the start of the 80s, and vicious stuff it is. But not without hooks! The last five originated on Disillusion, regarded by some aficionados as Loudness’ best. From “Crazy Doctor” through the ballad “Ares’ Lament” and the finisher “Esper”, these are some great metal songs.
Impressively, the third disc (the DVD) highlights another batch of songs missed on the first two discs: newer material. “Soul on Fire”, “Go For Broke”, “Until I See the Light”, “I’m Still Alive” and a pair of instrumentals from the new Rise to Glory (2018) stand up to the earlier material. The awesome “The Sun Will Rise Again” from the 2014 album of the same name rounds out the freshest material. The new tunes are still heavy, riffy and melodic, but with a very slight modern edge. “I’m Still Alive” goes thrash metal, but that’s part of Loudness’ origins. Besides the return of Suzuki on drums for one song, the highlight of the DVD is a ballad. After so many brutal songs, Minoru breaks out an acoustic guitar for an unplugged “Ares’ Lament”. This is completely different than the version on CD 2, which was done fully electric.
Any classic band from the 80s or earlier, still trying to pull it off today, has the same question to answer: How good is the singer? Minoru Niihara is excellent. As if no years have passed. None of the material presents a challenge.
Considering the mixture of material over the three discs, Rise to Glory – Live in Tokyo would be a suitable entry point for any rock fan wanting to check out Loudness. You’ll get the hits from Thunder in the East, ample early deep cuts, and a sampling of quality new stuff. Value for the money and time invested.