Track By Track   

Loudblast : something more

“Honestly, I don’t usually like thrash/death metal, but this is a really good album” ” – this is what our dear corporate manager told us about the Loudblast album this week. Fact: this album has something more than the others.

Loudblast: this French band that is on a roll right now! In fact they are part of the lucky ones following the Big Four, Dream Theater and Slipknot at Sonisphere in Amnéville. Particularly because their leader Stéphane Buriez knows how to be everywhere at once: be it in the studio with Allan Theo (French 90s pop star) or as a guest at the round table representing the metal scene in front of spokesmen of the Catholic Church… To be perfectly honest, we were also pleasantly surprised to see the feedback generated by the imminent release of the band’s latest album. This is their latest album after seven long years.

All of this was worth the wait. Frozen Moments Between Life And Death is an outstanding album. In fact, it’s very hard to give it justice in a Track By Track description because the album is actually not very varied. In terms of setting an atmosphere, it is quite uniform. This makes it difficult to find new adjectives and vocabulary to describe the songs one by one. But we can try anyway because the tracks themselves are incredibly resourceful. The more you hear them, the more a multitude of details emerge making all the difference: arpeggio, contrasts and harmonies on two guitars…

Enjoy !

1. Frozen Moments Between Life And Death – 4’29 :
This very melodic mid tempo instrumental, free from all composition constraints, comes as an excellent surprise and an excellent opening for the album. There isn’t really any chorus or any verses besides from two basic themes that the band jam around with and regularly return to after two bridges. We notice a guitar lead that is very inspired by melodic leads, not in a technical way but through its ambiance. This is consistent throughout the album. The solos, which are very heavy are also a constant feature of the album’s quality. Towards the end of the track, a short interlude of bass/drums lulls us into a 4 and a half minute crescendo before the return of main theme until the end, suggesting that the track could last forever.

2. Neverending Blast – 5’15 :
Despite the title track’s opening, Loudblast offer another kick-start to the album with guitar blows and a Hi-hat to start the tempo. Then come the riff, mid tempo and warrior style, followed by Stéphane Buriez’s vocals. From time to time, the band add some discrete melodies to the tracks achieved by a succession of chords (this is most probably undetectable unless attentive). According to its military elements and melody, the track could easily be used as a war hymn. Its structure (the drum and guitar delivery increases as it goes along), the progression of the guitar parts and the “Neverending Blast” are evident as the powerfully epic pinnacle of the song is almost narrative and remarkably orchestrated.

3. Cold Blooded King – 3’49 :
Little by little, Loudblast take us to a point of no return. We are increasingly starting to feel like we are on a muddy battlefield, under an overcast sky, devoid of hope to ever see the sun rise again or even to see this conflict end. It’s each man for himself. This track turns up the aggression level. The track also alternates between its heavy mid tempo military riffs and frenetic fast bits. It is here that the lead guitar can please itself the most, yet its playing remains calculated and sticks to the progression of the song’s framework.

4. Emptiness Crushes My Soul – 3’15 :
Loudblast play more than ever with their flow in “Emptiness Crushes My Soul”. A slow intro is anxiously interrupted by a reprisal of the heaviness with a complete mid tempo reminiscent of a track like South Of Heaven (Slayer). It’s important to mention the guitar arpeggios that embellish this part much like Swiss band Coroner do. One could imagine Alex Lifeson (Rush) playing this lead if he had been an extreme metal fan. Another notable aspect is the chorus, the best by far, simply because it is impossible not to headband to it. It is also impossible not to give in to some of the most frantic parts of the track.

5. Towards Oneness – 5’35 :
There is a short fill of snare drum to start off this track with a shuffling rhythm and worrying guitar lead which occasionally disappears giving way to a heavy riff. This is one of the most melodic tracks on the album, offering an ambient pause without disrupting the heavy flow. The gloomy sound of the bell and these cold melodies indulge the listener in beautiful artistic despair.

6. The Bitter Seed – 4’37 :
This track gets straight to the point with its punchy rhythm. This is the craziest track on the album. However, its madness is controlled and delightful, proving once again the band’s capacity to alternate between anarchic parts and catchy parts. The song also features a great guitar solo and some vocals reminiscent of Abbath (Immortal).

7. Nosce Te Ipsum – 3’53 :
The thundering sound of drums at the start of this track determines the nature of the song. This is the fastest track on the album. It’s a real festival of velocity and jubilance despite the slower parts and monster riffs. The accordance of the two guitars (harmonies, lead and rhythm alternatively, relaying…) is at its height in this song.

8. Hazardous Magic – 5’37 :
This track is as catchy as it is creative. It contains as many simple and striking riffs as less common subtleties: dissonant harmonies, tempo changes… The lead guitarist even manages to make his guitar screech like an alarm creating an original result and as much melody as usual. At 3’15 minutes, the song stops giving way to the sound of feedback. The ending is slow and ceremonial with lots of chords, arpeggios and drums… The track dies down progressively as each instrument fades away leaving the guitar to play the arpeggio until it finally gives in. The end is near.

9. To Bury An Empire – 5’15 :
The album could easily have ended there but Loudblast want to relive the violence and despair one last time. The first verse consists of a punchy riff, whereas the chorus, sung solemnly by Stéphane Buriez, demonstrates the overall discomfort created by the album. This military, repetitive and obsessive ending announces the climax. The listener is then released by the final verse.

Frozen Moments Between Life And Death is unlike any other thrash/death album. Speaking of which, the style is very slightly similar to old school black/thrash metal. For this reason, we are sometimes reminded of Immortal or the more recent Sarke when hearing the tracks. The album’s sense of liberating violence can be enjoyed for all of the same reasons as any album in the same genre. The riffs, choruses and drums are excellent. Similarly to a progressive metal album, I would encourage you to listen to it a few times, attentively and with full concentration. This is because the sum of all of its details are what make it such an effective thrash/death album.

The remarkable musical dialogue between the two guitars is largely responsible for this achievement. Drakhian and Stéphane Buriez rarely ever play the same notes. The evolvement of the lead guitar parts throughout a single track gives the songs an unusual narrative dimension. By working through the detail of the tracks, you will find that Loudblast play with diversity within each track, working upwards from the heavy frantic parts to the melodic sturdiness. Although it is not obvious at first, Loudblast have a great sense of melody. This is not catchy or cheesy melodies, but rather dark, fearful and despairing melodies.

What actually strikes you the most when you listen to Frozen Moments Between Life And Death is that you find links to Loudblast’s cornerstone album Sublime Dementia. Although their power/thrash change of direction on Fragments, which despite its qualities, managed to disappoint some people and the band’s death metal album Planet Pandemonium lacked in subtlety. This new album is the one that the fans have been waiting for. Without a doubt, this is the first thing that they will say the first time they hear it.

NB : It is important to mention that the songs “Emptiness Crushes My Soul” and “Cold Blooded King” appear as the third and fourth tracks on the promotional CD sent to the media ; therefore, it appears this way in most media to have relayed this information despite the fact that “Emptiness Crushes My Soul” is actually placed as the fourth track on the album and “Cold Blooded King” is in third place. This mistake will probably be rectified before the official release of the album on April 18th.

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