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As the founding vocalist of LOUDNESS, Minoru Niihara is well-known as one of Japan's top heavy metal exports. Through tours with the likes of AC/DC and Motley Crue, LOUDNESS stood out from the metal masses with unforgettable MTV hits like "Crazy Nights" and "Let It Go." Niihara left the band in the late 1980s to pursue a new sound, eventually winding up in X.Y.Z.->A with legendary Japanese guitarist Fumihiko Kitsutaka.

Re-titled "Asian Typhoon" for the North American market, Niihara and Kitsutaka are joined in X.Y.Z.->A by virtuoso bassist Tatsuhiko Wasada and acclaimed drummer/producer Funky Sueyoshi. The quartet formed in 1999 and has since put out 6 albums, 6 singles, and 2 DVDs. Featuring heavy-hitters like "Heavy Road" and For Whom The Bell Tolls," WINGS is the band's first North American release. WINGS shows the band at its heaviest yet also its most melodic with Kitsutaka's shredding still on full display.

In addition to his work with Kitsutaka and crew, Niihara recently released "Ashes To Glory" -- his first solo album -- as produced by Wynn Davis of Guns N' Roses fame. He also re-joined LOUDNESS, who in 2006 did their first U.S. tour in more than 15 years. Although it would be impossible to predict the future, one can only assume that Minoru Niihara will continue to sing his trademark high-pitched wails for many years to come.