Released: 1998, XIII Bis Records
Reviewer: Nathan Robinson
The latest installment from France’s most underrated band comes forth as a double-CD live album. Jumping on the bandwagon ala Dream Theater and Judas Priest? Perhaps, but hey, if you’re going to do a live album, include as many songs as possible! But in this case, each disc is taken from a different tour.
Disc one contains 7 tracks from their 1998 Submission Tour in support of their latest album "Fragments". In fact, five of them are from this album, with the other two being covers. This live material has superior sound quality, which is surprising for a basically unknown band. Every instrument can be heard clearly including the bass guitar. And there is great balance between each musician. And being the exceptional players they are, their performance is perfect! The dueling guitar attacks and harmonies throughout the songs have never sounded better! And although he does a great job, Stephane Buriez is not quite as able to belt out the emotion in his vocals as he did on the "Fragments" album. In fact, they sound a little more like his old death metal approach on 1993’s "Sublime Dementia", which were great anyhow. "Deuce" (originally by Kiss) one of the cover songs, is a rockin’ tune. The second cover, a punk song called "Sick Boy", you may remember also appeared on Slayer’s "Undisputed Attitude" album. I have no idea who originally wrote the punk song, but both covers are two of the only three cover songs Loudblast has recorded (the other one being Slayer’s "Mandatory Suicide" on the "Cross the Threshold" EP). My only disappointment with this disc is the short track listing and the silence between songs. Other than that it jams!
Disc two is a remastered version of their 1995 live album "Time Keeper". The remastering of this album does nothing to enhance its sound, as it is one of the best sounding live albums I have ever heard! It needed no improvement. This disc runs over 70 minutes and contains 17 tracks! On this you’ll hear songs from their 1991 debut album "Disincarnate", 1993’s "Sublime Dementia", and 1994’s "Cross the Threshold" EP…classics such as "Wrapped In Roses", the mighty "Outlet for Conscious", "Steering for Paradise", "Fancies", "Subject to Spirit", and "Wisdom…Farther On". Also included is "This Dazzling Abyss", which was only released on Century Media’s "Bloodlines" compilation a few years ago. The biggest surprise here is "Malignant Growth", off of their 1989 "Sensorial Treatment" promo tape! Aside from nothing being performed from 1987’s "Licensed to Thrash", Loudblast did a fine job at covering their back-catalog. Again, each instrument can be heard loud and clear, and the band’s performance is tight and simply amazing.
The booklet has lots of great live photos of the band, but unfortunately not much text…it would have been nice to know where they toured and with whom. Overall I think this is a great treat for us Loudblast fans. And for those curious about the band, this is a great starting point, as you will here a great variety, and the sound quality really lets Loudblast’s talent shine through.