Great Metal Albums of 1986: Loudness- Lightning Strikes

Supporting Saxon on the night of the first ever concert I attended at the Hammersmith Odeon was Japanese metal greats, Loudness. While it was my first time seeing Saxon, unfortunately, I have to admit it was my only time, I had seen Loudness a year earlier with Motley Crue and in my opinion, Loudness blew the Crue away. And while they didn’t blow Saxon away, they were as good as they had been a year earlier.

My anticipation on their next album, “Lightning Strikes,” was just as intense as my anticipation of seeing them live again. After the phenomenal “Thunder in the East,” I couldn’t wait to hear how Loudness would follow it up. Was it as good as its predecessor? To be honest, it was always a difficult task to follow up that album but I must say that “Lightning Strikes” comes pretty close.

They kept the format the same, using the single as the opening track. Finding hard not to compare and contrast, “Crazy Nights” is my all time favourite Loudness song but “Let It Go” is very good. The difference is that Loudness go for more a melodic hard rock sound on the new single, which caught me momentarily off guard but after a good listen, I can say “Let It Go” is definitely a good song.

What the band attempts to do and does it quite well is to create the feeling of the previous album on the new one. “Dark Desire” is a power jam while “1000 Eyes” has an introduction which reminds me a little of the track “Heavy Chains” off “TITE.” It’s still a great track and then comes the hidden gem, “Face to Face.” There is no attempt for melodic hard rock here, it’s almost thrash but Loudness pulls it off. Each member of the band contribute something here. Minoru Nihara shows he can sing at that speed and Akira Takasaki rips a blinder of a solo but it’s the rhythm section which impresses me here. Solid bass chords from Massayoshi Yamashita and frantic drumming from Muneteka Higuchi combine to make it the gem.

After “Who Knows” closes the first side in a way that makes you can’t wait to hear the second side, which opens with a very experimental sounding “Ashes in the Sky.” It is a very interesting track to say the least and I applaud Loudness for not being afraid to explore new territory. Akira does shine on the song with an acoustic intro backed with some power chords and a great guitar solo. It too is a hidden gem but not as big as “Face to Face.”

A second thrash type tune is found on “Black Star Oblivion.” The tempo races but it is here and the following song, “Street Life Dream,” where Akira plays his two best guitar solos. While “Street Life Dream” isn’t thrash, there are good power metal chords to be had. This brings me to the closer, “Complication.” I think it closes the album really well but I have since discovered that “Who Knows” closes the Japanese edition of the album. I can’t see how that would work.

Track Listing:

  1. Let It Go
  2. Dark Desire
  3. 1000 Eyes
  4. Face to Face
  5. Who Knows
  6. Ashes in the Sky
  7. Black Star Oblivion
  8. Street Life Dream
  9. Complication
Loudness

Minoru Nihara- lead vocals

Akira Takasaki- guitar

Massayoshi Yamashita- bass

Maneteka Higuchi- drums

Like I said earlier, Loudness’s 1985 album, “Thunder in the East” was a tough act to follow. However, I think that “Lightning Strikes” does a good job of coming very close.

Next post: Waysted- Save Your Prayers

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

11 Responses to “Great Metal Albums of 1986: Loudness- Lightning Strikes”

  1. They are still rocking! Just googled them…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pretty cool first show to have seen at the Hammersmith! Saxon I guess was in there prime over there. Great throwback writeup!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a good one. Again, so cool you got to go to Hammersmith and see such a great show.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Let It Go changed my life!

    Liked by 1 person

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