Aside from BOW WOW and SIGH, LOUDNESS is probably Japan's most well-known Metal band (how I wish I could include MILLARCA in that list, but they seem to be completely unknown). Playing a brand of classic Heavy Metal, the band has a lot more in common with the music of BOW WOW than with the Avantgarde Black Metal stylings of SIGH. In fact, LOUDNESS would probably appeal to anyone with a taste for classic Heavy Metal in the vein of IRON MAIDEN et al, what with their galloping riffs, magnificent and wailing vocals. But who am I kidding? You already know this - LOUDNESS are legends!
"Rockshocks" is not your typical album. Originally released in 2004, this release features some of the best cuts off of LOUDNESS' first five albums, but completely re-recorded and with one heavy-as-hell production. On this 2006 version, we find three extra tracks tacked on, taken from the much Thrashier 2004 release "Racer." The re-recorded songs are the stars here, though and they do not suffer at all in their new versions! Normally re-recordings are iffy, but here the band manages to take the classic songs and give them even more punch. Nothing is lost in the translation, making this a perfect gateway for Metalheads wanting to check out the band for the first time. This is even better than a greatest hits album, which normally come off as disjointed and thrown together, as this has a consistent production and on top of that, it flows like a real album. Great for the uninitiated.
This is some prolific, anthemic Heavy Metal that all fans of the genre should look into. Don't write it off just because LOUDNESS is a lame name for a band - their riffs and solos here are enough to make up for that! (Online May 8, 2006)