Re-Masterpieces: The Best of Loudness

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Loudness remains the best-known Japanese heavy metal export of the '80s. While the group's anthemic metal was quite derivative of such acts as Judas Priest at times, there were two things that separated Loudness from the rest of the pack. First off, most of their earlier favorites were sung in their native tongue, and secondly, they were led by one of the more underrated metal guitarists of the era, Akira Takasaki, who lets his fingers fly on most of the 15-track career overview, Re-Masterpieces: The Best of Loudness. Although the material featured here is '80s-to-the-core, you have to remember who the group's competition was at the time. With that in mind, such selections as "Crazy Night" and "Rock N' Roll Gypsy" are as good as anything that Ratt or Keel were doing at the time, while such earlier favorites as "In the Mirror" and "Esper" catch the group in a heavier mode. What prevents Re-Masterpieces from being a must-have for fans of '80s metal is that some of the group's best latter-day selections, including one of their most renowned tracks in the U.S., "Let It Go," is not included. And as it's a Japanese-only release, the set isn't exactly cheap.

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