Loudblast - _Burial Ground_
(Listenable Records, 2014)
by: Mark Dolson (6 out of 10)
When I heard France's Loudblast was releasing a new album, I was pretty excited. Admittedly, I haven't listened to Loudblast in years, so I was really curious to hear some new material. I had watched a few trailers on their official Facebook page, and from what I was able to glean they were going back to playing a more straightforward death metal approach -- not too far removed from their second and third albums (the two I'm most familiar with).

I first got into Loudlbast at the very beginning of 1993, when I picked up their second album, _Disincarnate_ (1991) on tape. I remember buying because I thought the cover was cool. While I liked said album, there was something a little flat about it. The riffs were okay (some were on the boring side), but the production really didn't help matters, since it was pretty muddy sounding. In the fall of 1993, I bought their newly released _Sublime Dementia_ album. I remember listening to this everyday for months while walking to and from my highschool. I absolutely loved this album then, and I still do today. I thought the band had really come to form with _Sublime Dementia_ and had edged toward a much more mature sound. Each song was memorable, and featured great riffs, original-sounding death metal vocals, and a good if typical Morrisound Recordings production. I loved the lyrics, too, inasmuch as they were oriented more toward those with more philosophical inclinations.

I lost interest in the band after _Sublime Dementia_, sadly. This happened for a number of reasons, not the least of which was the fact that their albums were non-existent at the local record store (due to a label switch from Semetary Records to some fairly obscure labels like Metal 13, Boycott/Next Music, and XIII Bis Records).

So, on to the new album _Burial Ground_. Since I'm not too familiar with the material the band put out after _Sublime Dementia_, I can only use said album as a fairly distant point of comparison. In a word, the new album is boring -- it's just not very interesting to me. It sounds like just another modern mid-paced death metal album with a blast beat thrown in for a little variation (Yyrkoon might share some similarities this way). The production sounds far too clinical for my tastes, and gives the album a sort of anonymous feel to it. The riffs are, for the most part, bland, and I really keep having the urge to skip each song once it starts.

There are a few sections where the more hard-rock sounding riffs aren't too bad, in that they almost sound like something Enslaved would have written during the _Isa_(2005) era. The vocals unfortunately have lost that unique low-end edge which made them so enjoyable to listen to on _Sublime Dementia_. I understand that age probably has something to do with it, and I can't except the singer to be as gruff and brutal as he was 21 years ago, so maybe it's not fair for me to critique. The only aspects that I found tolerable were the solos, which are long and intricate in some songs.

After many repeated listens, I still can't bring myself to find much about this album to really like. On a more positive note, I do find it quite admirable that the band are still writing music after being around for so long -- some 29 years. When it comes to Loudblast, though, I think I'll stick to the early stuff. You never know, but hopefully the next album will pick up where _Sublime Dementia_ left off. We'll see...

Contact: http://www.loudblast.org

(article published 30/5/2014)


ALBUMS
3/23/2004 X Hoose 7.5 Loudblast - Planet Pandemonium
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