Japanese metal veterans, Loudness, return in 2018 with a new album. “Rise to Glory” will be the band’s first North American release since 1991’s “On the Prowl.”
Most fans were introduced to the group with the band’s 1985 album, “Thunder in the East.” From that album came the single “Crazy Nights.” The song is accepted as part of the heavy metal canon and the lyrics and soundscape place it there.
It would probably be to any metal fan’s benefit to listen to all of Loudness’ catalog in the days before the new album’s release. If that isn’t possible, then at least re-examining why “Crazy Nights” is such an effective example of heavy metal is in order.
Lyrics to “Crazy Nights”
The song is about a metal show from the band’s perspective. The lyrics indicate that bands feed off audiences’ energy. The fans become the “heroes” according to the song. The phrasing is endearing and off-kilter: “you make me mad and wild/well, we’re gonna rock and pile you…” Maybe the phrasing isn’t standard, but this is rock music.
The song begins with an assertion of fans’ expectations, and then describes what the band wants. This is one way of saying that it is the classic “you come to see the show, we want to hear you scream” motif. Here, though, Loudness makes effective use of an exchange between the lead singer and musicians singing backing vocals. Most of the verses involve the vocalist and backing vocals taking turns. While it sounds simple, it is not done (to my taste) often enough in heavy metal.
While the arrangement and content of vocals are important, the vocal qualities play an important role in why “Crazy Nights” endures as a heavy metal classic. A growling shout is one way to describe the lead singer’s tone. And it is an effective one to use on an anthemic tune such as “Crazy Nights.”
What is also nice here, is the absence of vamping. There are no extraneous syllables, the singer doesn’t attempt to sing through solos or get the last word in at the very end. Of course, some songs, especially those of the blues-based rock or metal variety, lend themselves to vamping. Most heavy metal does not. Whether Loudness did this on purpose or not, it is an effective touch.
If Phil Spector’s trademark “Wall of Sound” could have been done with heavy metal guitars, it probably would have sounded like “Crazy Nights” by Loudness.
The chugging, heavy chords somehow manage to be flexible. But the opening is arguably one of the most effective in heavy metal history. Without preamble, those swaying, heaving chords hit audiences right away. A few notes in, equally heavy drum beats crack the song into existence. The result is as close to beauty as heavy metal is likely to get.
The popularity of “Crazy Nights” is further illustrated by other bands like Therion, HammerFall and others covering the song from the late 1990s to 2013.
“Rise to Glory,” the new album by Loudness is scheduled for release Jan. 26, 2018.