Heavy Metal Hippies

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The strangely-titled Heavy Metal Hippies finds Japanese metal institution Loudness searching for a foothold -- any foothold -- in the post-Nirvana alternative world, coming away with a modern metal sound somewhere between Pantera and Seattle. All things considered, they could have done a lot worse, but guitarist Akira Takasaki is obviously running on fumes here, resulting in a derivative, unfulfilling record which long-time Loudness fans will want to steer clear of. Now the band's last remaining original member (following the departure of founding drummer Munetaka Higuchi), Takasaki would, not surprisingly, finally give up the ghost after this album, taking three years off before resurfacing with the much improved Ghetto Machine.

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