Shadows of War

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With a little bit of maneuvering of the track list, this originally Japan-only release was essentially Lightning Strikes, the release from which American audiences first warmed up to Loudness. Their full-on rock showcase proves no worse for wear when translating lyrics into English and dispensing with the attempts to warm up to the commercial metal sounds of the time. Akira Takasaki's guitar work of course remains the focal point and main artery of the group, but Minoru Niihara's vocals make a case for prominence with "Let It Go" and "Black Star Oblivion." Reissued by Wounded Bird in 2005, this is definitely one of Loudness' finer moments from their glory years, and fans would be well served in seeking it out.

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