Hurricane Eyes

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Though it failed to equal the mostly novelty-based sales of Loudness' first internationally distributed album Thunder in the East, Lightning Strikes had handily managed to translate the band's Japanese-bred heavy metal into a more easily digestible recipe for Western audiences. Because this progress didn't translate into sales, however, their record company, Atco, felt the need to force the band's hand toward an even more pop-metal direction when it came time to record their next effort. Yet, while producer Max Norman's work on Lightning Strikes had merely served to trim the excess fat from Loudness' rather busy compositions, new hire Andy Johns would show no such restraint in his mission to completely disfigure the band's sound. 1987's misguided Hurricane Eyes was the result. With their generic riffs and big, dumb choruses, formulaic singles like "This Lonely Heart" and "Take Me Home" push the envelope of pop-metal overkill with tragic consequences, while full-throttle thrashers topped with cold-war lyrics like "S.D.I." and "Strike of the Sword" seem equally desperate in their attempt to swing the balance in the opposite direction. To make matters worse, former Angel keyboard player Gregg Giuffria looms over the proceedings like a true "angel of crap," lending a dubious helping hand to Loudness' musical act of hara-kiri. Needless to say, record buyers could have cared less about all this behind-the-scenes maneuvering, and the record was a resounding flop. After supplanting founding vocalist Minoru Niihara with American singer Mike Vescera in a final bid for Western acceptance, Loudness would eventually limp back into the rising sun, never to return.

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