Released: 1999, XIII BIS Records
Reviewer: Nathan Robinson
After waiting three goddamned months for my Loudblast package to arrive from France, I can finally revel in the glory of these new releases!!! As I mentioned in last month’s review of Clearcut‘s debut album, Loudblast have decided to call it a day. To commemorate the band, their record label, XIII BIS Records, has just put out three new releases: a reissue of the band’s debut album Sensorial Treatment, a compilation CD covering the band’s history called A Taste of Death, and a home video entitled Legacy.
Sensorial Treatment was originally released in 1989 on Jungle Hop Records. This debut album was the crossover from Loudblast’s thrash roots, as exemplified on the split 12” with Agressor Licensed to Thrash, and their old school death metal style on their second album Disincarnate. I wouldn’t say that Sensorial Treatment is a mindblowing album, however it is a solid example of death-thrash played the way it should be played: aggressive and brutal. At times, Loudblast resembled their French brothers Agressor, or Endless Pain/Pleasure to Kill-era Kreator, particularly when Loudblast play fast. But whereas Agressor and Kreator were all about speed and crazed, furious guitars, Loudblast mixed things up considerably. Each song in themselves varies in tempo and is chock full of riffs, collectively making the entire album an interesting and enjoyable listen. Sensorial Treatment has been out of print for who knows how long. Actually, I had no idea it even existed until, by accident, I saw it for sale a couple of years ago on the English internet mail order service Netsounds ( http://www.netsounds.com
). The reissue remains faithful to the original release, reproducing the original artwork both front and back. But the booklet has a slightly different layout. The original band photo, lyrics, and liner notes have been replicated but rearranged to be more visually appealing, yet nothing new or extra has been added, unfortunately. Remastering of the album has improved the sound quality, even though the original sounded fine to me to begin with. This reissue is also listed as including the bonus track “Oath of Allegiance”, however, my original CD contains the same bonus track. Overall, this reissue is nothing spectacular other than the fact that it is finally made available once again. Loudblast fans certainly must own it. Agressor freaks and fans of old death-thrash like Kreator and Sadus may also find this album enjoyable.
A Taste of Death, the real treat here, includes seventeen tracks covering the bands entire career. Only seven of these songs have been taken from Loudblast’s previous releases. That means the remaining ten tracks are unreleased or rare songs, or alternate versions of familiar tunes! Here’s a summary of what’s within:
Taste Me”, “Pleasure Focus”, and “Man’s Own” have been culled from the band’s last studio album Fragments, while “Malignant Growth” is taken from Sensorial Treatment.The inclusion of these songs seems rather pointless, as both albums should be currently available.
“Disquieting Beliefs” and “After Thy Thought” are taken from the 1991 album Disincarnate, while “No Tears to Share” is from the 1994 EP Cross the Threshold. Killer songs from killer CDs. A nice taste of some out of print music.
Two songs come from the Legacy video: “Subject to Spirit/Flesh” and “Black Death”. “Subject to Spirit” and “Flesh” are essentially two different songs played back to back. “Black Death” totally surprises me though. This song was originally released on the 1987 split 12” Licensed to Thrash! Kick ass thrash! It’s great to see the band still cares about their older material!
Three songs are taken from the band’s 1996 demo material, while writing and recording for the Fragments album. “Sinking” was supposed to be an outro instrumental on this album, but the band thought it was “too romantic”. Sure it’s a little slower and melodic, but running at just under two minutes in length it would have made a good outro. It sounds almost a little sad, making it a perfect choice for the last song on the band’s last album. “Ecstasy” is the band’s “attempt at a pop metal song”. Well, I wouldn’t say it’s a pop song. It’s a little softer than the material on Fragments, but it still rocks! “The Fall Down” is another slower tune, but overall pretty much in line with the material on Fragments. Even though these three tracks are “demos”, they sound superb, just like the final album.
Three songs have been taken from the Sublime Dementia (the third album from 1993) pre-production stage. These songs are “Turn the Scales”, “About Solitude”, and “Fancies”. The sound quality is pretty damn good. The vocals on these tracks are more death-like than the final results on Sublime Dementia. And a few parts in “Fancies” are written a little differently than the final version on Sublime Dementia.
Two tracks have been taken from the band’s 1990 recording sessions. Apparently, “Against Time” was originally found on something called the Elf France Video as a song on the video soundtrack for a famous oil-producing company. This song is pretty old-school death metal, so why this company would want this song on their video is beyond me! I would love to see that!! There’s a part in the song that reappears almost verbatim in “Shaped Images of Disincarnate Spirits” off Disincarnate. The other track, “Punishment to Come”, was originally released on an obscure compilation called Total Virulence. It then reappeared in a different version, simply titled “Punishment”, on Century Media’s killer compilation In the Eyes of Death in 1991. The final version of this song, re-titled “Wrapped in Roses”, ended up on the album Disincarnate.
The track listing could have been improved by excluding the album tracks and including more demo material, or other rare stuff, like perhaps the three tracks on the In the Eyes of Death compilation, or the exclusive “This Dazzling Abyss” found on Century Media’s Bloodlines compilation. A Taste of Death comes housed in a nice glossy digipak, which folds out four times, to reveal some current band and live photos, the track listing with some notes about the songs, a select discography, a couple old photos and a listing of the various band members throughout the years. I would have liked to see more old photos and perhaps a history of the band, seeing that I hardly know anything about them aside from the music. But overall, this CD totally kicks my ass. Absolutely essential for Loudblast fans! Mega-hails to Loudblast and their record label for releasing all of this great material!
Last but not least, the live home video Legacy!!! Hell yes man, finally I get to see Loudblast in action! After spending another $30 to get the video converted from PAL to NTSC format, I sat down and rocked my ass off! No fucking around, just one entire live concert from beginning to end! This show was recorded at Le Grand Mix, in Tourcoing, France, on February 27, 1999, on the band’s “Last Submission Tour”. Cranking in at 77 minutes, the video contains eighteen songs total! Loudblast blast onto the spacious stage with two songs from Fragments, namely “Taste Me” and “Pleasure Focus”. Not wasting any time, they move onto “Shaped Images of Disincarnate Spirits” and “Steering for Paradise”, two death metal classics from Disincarnate!! Hell yes!! Seeing the band play such old material was more than joyful! In total, only four songs appeared from Fragments, the album the band was touring for. The same number of songs was played from their death metal classic Disincarnate!!! Two songs were performed from the EP Cross the Threshold, including the Slayer cover “Mandatory Suicide”. Three songs came from the masterpiece Sublime Dementia. Two other covers, Kiss’ “Duece” and GBH’s “Sick Boy”, could also be found on the live disc Submission Tour ’98 which came as disc two of the re-release of the Time Keeper live album. Only one song appears each from Sensorial Treatment and Licensed to Thrash: “Malignant Growth” and “Black Death”, respectively. Aside from that, Loudblast performed one other cover, which is exclusive to this video: Venom’s “Witching Hour”! The video quality is excellent and professional, utilizing multiple cameras and some cool effects. And at the beginning of each song, the song title appears on the screen for a few seconds, which is pretty cool. The sound is also great, and the band’s performance is flawless. My only disappointment with the video is that the cameras focus on the vocalist too much. Other than that, this video rules!
Overall, these three releases mark the end of Loudblast’s existence perfectly. And just like all of the band’s other material, these three items are almost impossible to find. The only place I managed to find these was directly from their record company’s web site: http://www.ind-cat.com/metal13/index.html
It’s all in French, so good luck! Even though I don’t speak nor read French, I was able to figure their site out and order all three using my credit card. A couple words of wisdom: you must enable cookies to order. I had to set my computer on the lowest security setting. Also, they apparently ship by sea, which is why it took three months for me to receive my package (I live in the US). Actually, I know of only one other place to order at least the two CDs: Hellion Records in Germany. They do not have email, nor a web site, nor do they accept credit cards. However they are very reliable and honest. Contact me if you want their address information: firstname.lastname@example.org