Loudness (ラウドネス, Raudonesu) is a Japanese heavy metal band formed in 1981 by guitarist Akira Takasaki and drummer Munetaka Higuchi. They were the first Japanese metal act signed to a major label in the United States, releasing 26 studio albums (five in America) and nine live albums by 2014 and reaching the Billboard Top 100 in their moment of maximum international popularity, as well as charting on Oricon dozens of times. Despite numerous changes in their roster, with Takasaki the sole constant member, the band continued their activities throughout the 1990s, finally reuniting the original line-up in 2001. This incarnation released a further seven albums until November 30, 2008, when original drummer Munetaka Higuchi died from liver cancer at a hospital in Osaka at age 49. He was replaced with Masayuki Suzuki.