Loudblast – Burial Ground (Listenable Records)Tuesday, 3rd June 2014
French oldies but goodies, Loudblast have been knocking boots with death metal since 1985, which means they were in their infantile stages when the sound was in an equal state. They’re certifiably mondo underground on both sides of pond, especially over here, with their early 90’s output (Disincarnate and Sublime Dementia) getting some attention because assembly-line master Scott Burns was at the helm. Beyond that, they’re relatively obscure, caught in the middle of the Gojira breed and the utterly twisted black metal mongrels. However, with Burial Ground, Loudblast supplies a rather healthy dose of off-kilter death metal. Only in France.
Of massive value to Burial Ground (and the band as a whole) is the fact there’s a noticeable lack of retro leg-humping. There’s a progressive tinge to the album’s cuts, even if most of the ideas were bred from the DM glory days. The riffs are relatively compact and meaty (“Darkness Will Abide” first comes to mind), and the grooves (and head-banging cues) in strong supply, most notably on “Soothing Torments,” which is the best non-Scandinavian song Unleashed never wrote. Elsewhere, the churning “I Reach the Sun” has some girth, being one of the band’s staple off-the-beaten-path-but-grip-worthy cuts, while the dissonant hum of “The Void” emerges as one of the album’s true highlights.
An obvious dark horse in the death metal derby, Loudblast prove that experience, coupled with songwriting savvy is always an unbeatable combination. There are mounds of bands who can run circles around the Frenchmen in the technical department, coupled with the never-ending horde of bands who eat (and shit) Autopsy/Entombed riffs for breakfast, so Loudblast clearly has something of value going for themselves. Decidedly French and wholeheartedly immediate, Loudblast have a stalwart on their hands with Burial Ground.