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Loudblast – Manifesto

by Max Elias at 27 November 2020, 9:43 AM

The French DEATH METAL band LOUDBLAST is an integral part of the history of extreme metal in France. They put out numerous releases throughout the 90s and early 2000s, and are back in 2020 with Manifesto, a pummeling, dynamic and melodic (in the sense of later DEATH releases) exercise in proving that they still have what it takes to make exciting music. The first song alone, “Todestrieb” goes through a few different moods even in its short 3:21 runtime; it starts off all guns blazing and rips through a few old school DEATH METAL riffs before giving way to an eerie melody reminiscent of “Spiritual Healing”-era DEATH, and slowing to a crushing canter.

The riffs here are familiar but creative, and the band has a knack for crafting distinct memorable parts that don’t sound cliché. “Erasing Reality” is full of these kinds of riffs that get you humming without realizing it. It’s a stomping death/thrash number propelled by the acrobatic percussive assault that is Hervё Coquerel on drums. Next is a song that was one of the singles relseaed before the album; “The Promethean Fire”. Right away a sense of urgency starts to build as you hear chanting and the sound of bells, quickly joined by a ritualistic rhythm one might expect to hear before a human sacrifice. There is a lot of space in the riffs, shaping the alien atmosphere of the song with their held chords and demonic interval jumps. The small guitar solo about three minutes in is great too; it’s easy to see why they chose this as a single.

Coquerel’s drumming seems to be a focal point of a lot of the album, as the opening of “Preaching Spiritual Infirmity” is once again dominated by fluid rolling percussion fills. It really propels the music and provides an interesting contrast with the often slower and ponderous riffs. It keeps the energy alive when the band decides to go slower and complements the aggression displayed in faster moments.

A theme of this album seems to be religion, judging by these song titles. “Invoking to Justify” is perhaps the most obvious, with its damning refrain condemning religious hypocrisy. Musically, this is another strong showing for LOUDBLAST. It starts with a clean intro and once the tension has built, rockets into trademark melody-tinged DEATH METAL riffing. This is another song that excels at building a mood while inundating listeners in grimy, powerful riffs. The guitars and vocals work in tandem demonstrating the chemistry between the members of LOUDBLAST.

Speaking of powerful riffs, I don’t think I’ll stop humming the part just a little before the 2 minute mark in “Into the Greatest of Unknowns”; but the best song in my opinion for sheer riff madness is “Festering Pyre”. It’s shorter than the bulk of the album, and it knows that, so it comes in swinging immediately. These riffs almost sound like they come from a different band because the approach is so different. The guitars don’t let the drums move the music and provide the anger like they do on other songs, they hiss and bite with venom I didn’t know they had. And yet, somehow, “Festering Pyre” manages to sneak in a little clean interlude without it feeling forced, which is really a testament to the band’s writing skills.

The album closes on the doomy-sounding “Infamy Be To You”, which sounds like it should be on a CANDLEMASS record or something. The tempo slows down and the classic tritone progression can be heard making the song feel like a window into Hell. Most of the song feels like a build up to something that doesn’t come, either within the same song or on the next (since it’s the last on the album); and then it fades out on a serene arpeggiated guitar line. It’s maybe a somewhat lackluster way to cap off the album, but it’s solid for people who like DOOM METAL more than I do. The album as a whole is very good, with enough variety in style to be interesting on repeated listens.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 8
Originality: 9
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

  1. Todestrieb
  2. Unit 731
  3. Erasing Reality
  4. The Promethean Fire
  5. Preaching Spiritual Infirmity
  6. Invoking to Justify
  7. Festering Pyre
  8. Into the Greatest of Unknowns
  9. Solace in Hell
  10. Infamy Be To You
Stéphane Buriez – Vocals, Guitars
Hervé Coquerel – Drums
Jérôme Point-Canovas – Guitars
Frédéric Leclerq – Bass
Record Label: Listenable Records


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