Although Loudblast is huge in their native France, their releases have been ridiculously hard to find in the United States. The last time I remember seeing any domestic release from this band here in the USA, it was the Century Media compilation, In the Eyes of Death, which also featured Unleashed, Asphyx, Tiamat, and Grave. That was in 1991! It’s been a long time since I’ve heard Loudblast, to say the least. Back in the early ’90s, I pretty much devoured anything that was extreme in Metal music. I’d grown tired of Heavy Metal because so much of it was Butt Rock masquerading as Metal. My diet became Death Metal and brutal Thrash because it was dark and evil sounding and I craved that in my music. I purchased any compilations that l could find from labels like Century Media, Nuclear Blast and Roadrunner to hear new bands because the Internet didn’t exist as it does today. I remembered Loudblast pretty clearly because they were one of those bands that I could never track down, even though I had managed to purchase releases from every other band that was on that Century Media compilation. I was a voracious consumer of evil music and I spent every spare dime on Metal, with my collection focusing on obscure and hard to find stuff. For a band to elude me for so long was an anomaly and finally having a full-length Loudblast LP to listen to feels like a bizarre accomplishment. Thankfully, I’m not disappointed. The band has changed a lot since their days of playing straight-forward Death Metal. Burial Ground, their latest album, is still heavily influenced by old Death Metal, but they’ve become far more melodic and Thrash-influenced over the years. It hasn’t diminished their impact, but it has added an additional layer of memorability and even some atmosphere that their old stuff was lacking. The only issues that I had with this LP were with the production, and a lot of that has to do with my personal feelings on how a Metal album is supposed to sound. I like loud guitars, and Burial Ground could have used slightly louder guitars and also a thicker, more bass-heavy guitar tone. The guitars seemed to be constantly at war with the drums for attention, and I found that to be distracting because when the drums were in blast mode, they made the riffs harder to discern. Another distraction for me was the bass drum sound. It’s like a light switch and I hate that. A bass drum is supposed to have a deeper tone, but so many bands want to make it sound higher pitched than the snare. This is particularly annoying when the drummer goes into blast mode. When the double-bass kicks in, it sounds like a hyperactive kid messing with a light switch. Production issues aside, this is a pretty sick LP. I was wearing a neck brace for a week after listening to Burial Ground, and neck damage from headbanging is the hallmark of a great Metal album. If you like your Death Metal on the Thrashy side with memorable riffing, sick guitar solos and corrosive vocals, this is an album to check out.
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