Released: 2000, Wet Music
Reviewer: Nathan Robinson
After over 13 years, LOUDBLAST have decided to call it a day. I sure as hell am going to miss them! But guitarist/vocalist Stephane Buriez and bassist Francois Jamin have decided to continue onwards, forming a new band called CLEARCUT! Being the huge Loudblast fan I am, I certainly had to check these guys out. But I will admit, I was a little leery as to what Clearcut would sound like. With every album, Loudblast were progressing farther away from their thrash/death metal roots, transforming into a more power-thrash sort of style. I expected Clearcut to be a step beyond even that, and to be quite different than Loudblast.
And I was correct…Clearcut certainly is a new band with a new sound. The overall style on this debut album is straightforward, detuned, heavy, powerful, “modern” metal. To some extent, Clearcut takes off where Loudblast’s Fragments left off. This should be obvious given that Stephane wrote the majority of the music in Loudblast, and his style shines through in Clearcut also. On top of that, he performs vocals in Clearcut, just as he did in Loudblast. But the major difference between the two bands is the sound and overall musical approach. In Clearcut, the guitars are severely detuned, bringing to mind Sepultura’s Roots and Fear Factory’s Obsolete, but sounding even lower! Combining this with a very deep bass presence makes this debut sound very think and heavy. The riffs are kept simple, and unfortunately, there are no guitar leads. Not that every album must have leads, but I think this album could benefit with a few, especially considering the song structures are rather simple and a little short. But the deep guitars really make an impact when Clearcut plays slow and doomy, like inside the first track “Talkin’ Lies With Liars”. And I love the disharmonies the band uses, like during the chorus of the fucking heavy-ass song “The Process of Raping Gaya”. And how about the pounding weight of “Grey Tainted”? Now this song is heavy! The drumming sounds a little too processed…not quite electronic, but perhaps triggered? But hey, they fit the music. Vocally, Stephane belts ‘em out just as he did on Fragments, although vocals effects are used to a large extent. I’m not that big on vocal effects, especially the typical scratchy fuzz kind that tons of other bands have overused. But yet again, they fit the music. Stephane really puts forth the effort though, taking his voice to new levels on songs like “Talkin’ Lies With Liars”, which features some melodic singing at a higher register than what he’s done in the past.
This debut album from Clearcut is not groundbreaking. Nor does it measure up to anything Loudblast has done in the past, in my opinion. But I wouldn’t say that this album is necessarily disappointing. It would be if they kept the Loudblast name. But Clearcut have set out to do something different and they have succeeded. Imagine Fragments with a touch of Roots, Obsolete, Meathook Seed, and latter-day Napalm Death. And despite these resemblances, Clearcut remains unique. I am sure this review will make you believe Clearcut have gone for a trendy approach. Well, all I can say is Clearcut possesses at least two members with years of musical experience under their belts, and I respect them for this. Besides, this album is without a doubt fucking metal! If like your music full, deep, heavy and sludgy, then check this out and bang thy head!! Clearcut’s web site, currently under construction, can be found at http://www.chez.com/clearcut/