This is a release that will create irreconcilable, conflicting feelings within the purist listener. THE BURNING play a style of modern Death Metal that flirts with Deathcore, and even throws an occasional wink toward Nu Metal.
The origin of this dichotomy is in the vocal style. Johnny Haven alternates between the conventional Death growl and a Hardcore scream. Furthermore, on many of the tracks the rhythm of these vocals is highly punctuated – they have a fixed meter, and very little variation in tone or pitch. Intentional or not, this creates an effect of pseudo-rap that is a bit distracting. The vocals would have been more effective had Haven just employed the growls.
Instrumentally, almost all of the tracks contain catchy riffs that get the head bobbing. This is especially true of some of the slower to mid-paced songs. “Unspeakable” contains a simple, punishing main riff beefed up by heavily distorted bass, and this riff keeps the song at a steady medium tempo, even when the drumming transitions to faster blast beats. “Father They Call Me The Heretic” sports a similarly infectious mid-tempo riff and a pretty cool Stoner Metal-sounding solo.
There are further interesting components on this album that have unfortunately not been arranged very well. “Carnivora” has a great bass breakdown that sadly overpowers the guitar solo being played at the same time. Ditto “Eight Legged Omen.” The bass breakdowns and solos on both tracks would have been better arranged separately, as each is strong enough to stand on their own.
The drumming here is a notch or two better than the norm, as skins pounder Tobias Host does a good job keeping everything tight. “Cloven Hoof” in particular has some interesting percussion, with blastbeats supporting some unique cymbal work.
Overall this release shows some flashes of brilliance. Closer attention to the arrangements will do much to improve this band.
(Online April 3, 2009)