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Reviews » [Review] M.T. Fuji (Jpn) - Human Transport (1983)
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  • Loudness' Best Side-Project - 85%

    The concept behind M.T. Fuji was an interesting endeavor for Loudness, one in which they brought together some of their close friends to make a hard rock album called Human Transport. This is an album that seemed largely forgotten for almost 30 years by not only fans of the members, but seemingly by the musicians themselves. The original vinyl print is extremely rare, but fortunately in 2012 the label Teichiku graciously provided a beautiful CD re-master, so that people could finally hear it again. It's a relief that the album finally got a reprint, because this album is simply too good to be a footnote, lost forever.

    M.T. Fuji is an oddball project to say the least, it was created by the majority of the members of the young up-and-comers Loudness, fresh off of their release of The Birthday Eve, and also included their very good friend Misako Honjoh, who released most of her discography with Loudness' members as her backing band, as well as longtime freelance drummer Soul Toul with too many credits to name, Akira Takasaki's buddy Masanori Sasaji on keyboards, and finally, future Japanese rock legend Nobuo Yamada on vocals, all of these musicians hidden behind even weirder fake names to maintain some form of anonymity it seems.

    Human Transport radiates with a cheerful atmosphere, guided delicately by the excellent guitar that you would come to expect from anything with Dario de Parm... er... Akira Takasaki's name attached to it, as well as warm, happy keyboards from Masanori Sasaji adding an immense layer of depth to the band's collective sound and playing nearly as large a role as Takasaki himself, beautifully clear drums and bass from Soul Toul and Masayoshi Yamashita, and the easily recognizable powerhouse voice of Nobuo Yamada, with Misako Honjoh and Minoru Niihara backing him very well.

    This breed of hard rock differs largely from what Takasaki was doing with Lazy, more akin to what Make-Up would end up sounding like when they appeared the following year. All eight songs on Human Transport pull their weight, but some songs are certainly better than others, with Missing Blue, Samadhi and In the up Shot not being quite as strong as the rest of the songs, but that's no problem because the others make up for it and then some. Crying Out is centered around a very strong ultra 80s riff, with kind of a funky feeling to it, and proggy time-signature shifts leading into a strong Takasaki solo. Cosmic Dance and Photograph are in more of an AOR vein, with softer guitars, but again some great buildups for Takasaki's solos, both songs are very catchy.

    The two heaviest tracks on Human Transport are Dry Sand and Wonder Land. Dry Sand is one of the songs that really reminded me of what Make-Up would eventually sound like, and could fit anywhere on their album 1985 (great album!). Wonder Land is a masterpiece and one of my favorite songs Takasaki has ever made. The song explodes into action with all instruments on a single note, with the keyboards leading into the first verse and nice drumming by Soul Toul and powerful chords by Akira Takasaki in support. The chorus is again delivered in a powerful but softer Make-Up-esque style, but after the end of the second verse, the song kicks into an aggressive hard rock onslaught all instrumentalists playing their asses off building up to and leading through an extremely strong Takasaki solo, then fading back softer for the third verse and winding the song down, eventually fading out.

    M.T. Fuji is easily the best side project affiliated with Loudness, or any of its individual members. This project is nearly equivalent to Loudness' talents in heavy metal, just in the form of a radiant, lighthearted hard rock. The talent spread throughout this release is immense, and demonstrates Loudness' versatility in being able to shake it up and play a different style so incredibly well. Loudness fans, Honjoh fans, and Make-Up fans alike should give this album a listen. It's not something you would necessarily expect to be so good, as the whole concept was unlikely and strange in the first place, but it all works great and is very well worth your time.

    Written by TadakatsuH0nda, re-posted from the Metal Archives.
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