Who is your god? My god’s name is Akira Takasaki! (Okay, he’s just one of my many guitar “gods”, but I am trying to be dramatic here!) Anyway, take your George Lynch, take your Warren DeMartini, and THROW THEM AWAY! Takasaki was the real deal! With a preposterously AWESOME tone, plenty of flash, and most importantly, impeccable taste, Takasaki owns your ass on Thunder In The East!
Japan’s Loudness had already released a handful of albums by 1985, but Thunder In The East was supposed to be their grand introduction to the all-important American market. (Yes, there was actually a day and age when metal THRIVED in the United States!) Thunder In The East was the first Loudness LP to see wide release in the United States. The great Max Norman was tapped to produce the album, and it was yet another fine knob job by one of metal’s best engineers. Try not to be swayed by the eyeliner worn by the band on the LP’s back cover photo, this is some great metal, and Loudness were top-notch musicians (to say the least). I will say this; it took me a few spins to get used to Minoru Niihara’s vocals, which come with a heavy accent. But props to him for delivering in a second-language, something we should admire and respect (not dismiss as novelty). I have a whole diatribe about how unfair it was that America failed to embrace Japanese metal in the eighties, despite, on the flip side of the coin, Japan’s complete immersion into America’s heavy metal culture. I’ll save that for another day. Fact is, look around and you will see high quality Japanese products everywhere in your home and garage. So why should metal be any different? It ain’t. Loudness rules. Irresistible faves on this album include Crazy Nights and Never Change Your Mind. My score: A