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Soldier of Fortune

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Album Review

You can't blame Loudness vocalist Minoru Niihara for leaving the band after the abysmal Hurricane Eyes, but it's a shame he wasn't around for Soldier of Fortune, a far more potent and focused affair than its muddled predecessor. Reunited with producer Max Norman, Loudness thankfully stripped away the superfluous production gloss that sunk the band's last album and crafted a tight, lean set of toothy rockers. And truth be told, new American shouter Mike Vescera — while lacking Niihara's warmth and personality — is quite a formidable successor, stepping into his new role with admirable chops and conviction on tunes like "You Shook Me." Guitarist Akira Takasaki, meanwhile, appears to be reinvigorated by the new singer, as he unleashes his most ferocious performances to date.

Biography

Formed: Japan

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

By the time they were introduced to the West by 1985's Thunder in the East album, Japan's Loudness had arguably already hit their peak. Their previous effort, Disillusion, was the fourth chart-topping release in their homeland, not to mention a critical triumph among members of the European press. But when faced with a contingency plan to conquer America, Loudness were gradually forced to alter their sound by...
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Soldier of Fortune, Loudness
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