Acclaimed as the first French death metal band and just acclaimed across underground metal worldwide over the years since forming in 1985, Loudblast add another magnificent coal to that fire with new album Burial Ground. It is a beast of an album creatively and brutally; an inventive and explosive provocation which continues the band’s impressive evolution of sound. Merging resistance free grooves, barbed hooks, and a greater contagion into their old school genre seeded sound, the Lille quartet have sculpted their finest slab of imagination savaging incitement yet.
The bands career has seen many notable turns in their potent ascent since those far ago beginnings. Early albums such as Disincarnate and Sublime Dementia in 1991 and 1993 respectively making the first striking marks on a wider attention as did shows with bands such as Death and Coroner. The band has continued to evolve and in some ways reinvent their sound without losing the core and base which makes Loudblast such a potent antagonist. As mentioned Burial Ground is the band’s most diverse adventure yet, certainly across the album but even more so within the songs themselves, each pushing its boundaries and investigating new tendencies in their designs. It continues the impressing elements which made predecessor Frozen Moments Between Life And Death in 2011 stand out, just to stronger, deeper, and more imaginative levels. Parading a line-up of bassist Alex Lenormand (ex-Locus, Code, Sic), lead guitarist Drakhian (Griffar, ex-Taake, Black Dementia), drummer Hervé Coquerel, and vocalist/guitarist and founding member Stéphane Buriez, Loudblast have set a new benchmark not only for themselves with Burial Ground but potentially also European death metal.
A Bloody Oath sets things off, an enticing lone guitar inviting attention before the band descend with heavy weight and patience upon the senses. Riffs and rhythms build a formidable threat, both casting an intimidating web of further menace driven by the dark tones of bass and predatory vocals of Buriez. It is a slow stalking which eventually finds a trigger to charge rapaciously through ears with incendiary riffery and controlling rhythms, all again under the menacing guide of the vocals. The track continues to twist and turn in gait and attack, a delicious passage of bass temptation swiped by caustic blazes of guitar and roaring vocals sharing its spoils whilst winding its tempting across the walls of the song a sonic lure makes its own enticement before once the track with greater relish returns to its striding intent.
The song is a masterful and compelling start, employing grooves and classic metal flavouring but just the appetiser for greater things ahead though initially its impressive standard is simply matched by the forceful challenge of Darkness Will Abide. The song strolls with resourceful bait from guitars and drums courted by even darker bass probing. There is a thrash element to the album and certainly on the second track it brings an infectious urgency to an even paced but volatile tempered track. The song continues to entice and lure greater appetite for the encounter, feeding a brewing hunger for the full meal of Ascending Straight In Circle. A single guitar also makes the first coaxing for the song, its emotive strains a spark awakening the imagination ready for the voracious narrative and aural confrontation to follow. Rhythms pump their muscular intent straight away whilst riffs consume ears with similar passion, both building a trapping wall. Within this incendiary exploit riffs and malevolent climates soak and seduce thoughts and emotions, they and the slowly emerging and slightly demented grooves which come either in small spats or with unbridled toxicity, infectious bait. Fusing plenty of classic and groove metal vivacity to the charge of the song’s heart, it is an irresistible slice of invention driven maliciousness.
Assumptions that this was the pinnacle of the album are soon put in their place as Soothing Torments steps forward, its predacious entrance a stalking of the senses. It never moves away from this intent but colours the subsequent ravishment with more toxic and vicious grooves driven on by crippling rhythms and an intensity which grins gleefully as it smothers and consumes the senses. The flair of the guitars inflames the track further whilst its aural drama and hungry rabidity ignites a rapturous submission to the annihilatory pressure.
The melodic caress of From Dried Bones to a military rhythmic skirting takes its big slice of appetite next, especially when it slips into a rigorous canter with contagion spilling hooks swinging from intensive riffery. It is a mouthwatering start which as you are climbing on board, pulls the floor away and brings a hellish demonic breath and atmosphere over a doom clad weight and intensity. The two gaits of the track eventually merge for a storming conclusion to the enjoyable onslaught, followed right away by the dark cavernous depths and consumptive weight of The Void which suffocates ears and emotions. It is a demanding and exhaustive stealing of light and hope, a pestilential asphyxiation which tests the listener but provides just enough lifeline of accessibility to keep them engrossed in its taxing offering.
The closing stretch of the album is its most arduous but with just as many rewards and pleasing twists as the first part of the release, both Abstract God and I Reach The Sun unleashing a virulent causticity which accentuates the spite of rhythms and the voracity of the riffs. The first of the pair also lays down a captivating and alluring passage of carnivorous riffery speared by sonic prowess and spiky grooves whilst its successor toys and manipulates senses and psyche with an onerous yet invigorating weave of sonic and melodic seduction.
Closing track The Path is a towering protagonist, it’s epically honed intentions and sound a maelstrom of ravished emotions, rhythmic vitriol, and sonic cruelty but brought with a technical and artistic skill aligned to descriptive endeavour which paints an intrusive landscape for the imagination to immerse within. It is a monstrous finale to an excellent and intensive album proving that Loudblast just seem to get better and better; experience and maturity breeding greater invention and explorations within the band and constantly forging new highlights for metal.
Burial Ground is available via Listenable Records now @ https://www.facebook.com/listenablerecs
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