Sometimes it takes a tragedy to focus people’s attention, in the case of Japanese metallers LOUDNESS, it was the death of original drummer Munetaka Higuchi, who apparently spurred the band to reunite, discard the chasing the-style-of-the-day post-80s sound and return to performing the ballistic guitar driven anthems they created more than thirty years ago. They’d already released four import-only albums by the time of 1985’s Thunder in The East (which spawned the MTV hit ‘Crazy Nights’). After the oldies-only 2010 tour, King Of Pain was a major disappointment, yet as promised guitarist Akira Takasaki is once again at the fore, at least for the initial 2/3 of the album! ‘A Light In The Dark’ is a jangly 100 second instrumental opener, but once it gives way to ‘The Power Of Truth’, its heaviness personified, with wayward guitar runs atop Minoru Niihara’s uncharacteristic yelps. Follow-up ‘Come Alive Again’ is much closer to classic Loudness, Takasaki’s ‘Eruption’ styled riffs the backbone of the lively movement. The start to ‘Survivor’ borders on thrash, before settling back to the speedy attack mode of those earliest albums, but most of the track is just the guitarist going off. ‘Hang Tough’ degenerates into a meandering, 70s blues inspired number, while ‘????’ (the kanji characters for Kidoairaku) takes a weird turn, somewhere between sludgy opening and pop sensibilities. ‘Pandra’ opts for more psychedelic leanings, lots of six-string squawk amongst the noddling. The closer, an F-bomb lyric ‘Crazy! Crazy! Crazy!’ seems to be inspired by the Chili Peppers’ funk. Given their recent record of sketchy output, I’ll take it!