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Review: Loudness - Disillusion

Label: Music For Nations
Year released: 1984
Duration: 38:00
Tracks: 9
Genre: Heavy Metal


Review online: September 11, 2018
Reviewed by: MetalMike
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Rated 3.86/5 (77.14%) (7 Votes)

Loudness has the distinction of being the first name on most people’s lips when the subject of "metal bands from Japan" is brought up. They may or may not have been the first Japanese band in America (Bow Wow and Earthshaker were around at the same time and imports of all three probably showed up within a short time of each other) but they were the first to get signed by a major label (Atlantic Records) and enjoy wide popularity during the ‘80s golden age.

Disillusion was the band’s fourth album and the first to be licensed outside of Japan (Music for Nations in the U.K., Roadrunner in the rest of Europe) and the vehicle by which I discovered them. I bought the U.K. version of the album because it was in the heavy metal import bin and had a cool samurai warrior on the cover and hoped for the best because that’s what you did back then. Musically, Loudness plays energetic, up-tempo heavy metal centered around the great riffs and fantastic lead work of guitarist Akira Takasaki. As soon as Loudness hit American shores, guitar aficionados had another idol to worship as Takasaki is supremely talented. The rest of the band members are no slouches either though as you might expect, singer Minoru Niihara sounds uncomfortable with the English version of the album’s lyrics. To be fair, he’s trying to inject emotion into vocal lines with words he’s learned phonetically, which is no easy feat. It was a bit of a surprise but understandable when the band replaced him with American singer Mike Vescera for 1989’s Soldier of Fortune album after the band’s previous albums hadn’t generated the kind of sales figures Atlantic expected (a move that ultimately didn’t work and Vescera was gone after the next album, On the Prowl).

Nevertheless, Disillusion contains some great 80s metal including "Crazy Doctor," "Dream Fantasy" and "Satisfaction Guaranteed," tracks you can sing along to even if you aren’t quite sure what you are singing all the time. Guitar fiends can jam to the instrumental "Exploder" and it is all wrapped up in a simple, no frills production that lets every instrument breathe. I can live without "Milky Way" and "Ares’ Lament," but no album is perfect, right? I’m biased because I’ve been listening to this one for more than 35 years but fans of 80s heavy metal and in particular of sweet, acrobatic guitar solos should find a lot to like as well.

More about Loudness...
Review: Live-Loud-Alive (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: The Sun Will Rise Again (reviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
Interview with vocalist Minoru Niihara on August 22, 2014 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
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