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Rating explanation

Chicago Is Burning - American Outlaw (5/10) - USA - 2010

Genre: Industrial Alternative Metal
Label: Self-production
Playing time: 21:35
Band homepage: Chicago Is Burning


  1. This Is How People Get Killed
  2. For What Is Owed, You Will Pay In Blood
  3. Fall Into The Sun
  4. Mxxxxx (2010)
  5. On The Edge Of Winter
  6. Anne Boleyn
Chicago Is Burning - American Outlaw

To my chagrin, occasionally a band pops up that defies the genres and does something rather unique and new. The problem is that sometimes this mixture of oddities comes off as rather muddled and unfocused as if the band isn’t sure what they are playing themselves. CHICAGO IS BURNING seems to fall into this category of ‘uncategorized’ with their odd blend of synthetic melodies, Grind-like penchants for creating a wall of noise, and Metalcore inspired yelling.


Initially, “American Outlaw” sparked quite a bit of curiosity. The band seemed to be playing with some unusual styles and their ballsy combinations definitely perked some interest. Lots of keyboard melodies and synth lines overtake the majority of the music, while heavily distorted riffs and drums (check out that killer double bass kick on the beginning of  “This Is How People Get Killed”) fill in for the more vicious side of the band. The grinded shouting vocals lend the band towards a more Core sound throughout, but the rest of the release can certainly pummel the listener.


The bombardment of sounds from CHICAGO IS BURNING is partially what makes the album tough to listen to. They certainly are out to rattle the brains in your skull and if their intent was to fluster the listener then they succeeded. It also makes the album a bit of a workout to listen to. The randomness of its spurting energy and the rather awkward flow into the keyboard melodies just leaves one perplexed rather than intrigued.


There is definitely something down within this release. An idea that is blooming that can lead to something larger than the music contained on “American Outlaw." This release just doesn’t grasp it though and generally becomes a slew of noise rather than an inspired blend of genres. Although I respect CHICAGO IS BURNING for this release, it never seems able to confine itself to be truly appreciated for what it is.


Song to check out: “This Is How People Get Killed.”

(Online June 11, 2011)

Matt Reifschneider

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