The reviewer really has a difficult time finding a genre to stick BURNT BY THE SUN in, at least one that won't evoke any unwanted negative connotations. If called "Metalcore", for example, many will first and foremost think of masses of breakdowns and guys singing in a whiny fashion. Filing it under "Grindcore" (which is not really accurate anyway), on the other hand, probably makes you think of a short-winded, unrefined noise assault.
So what is it? A mixture of both and yet neither, one could say. The almost constantly angry, raw vocals of Michael Olbers may indeed be considered a part of Metalcore (in the sense of "a more Metal version of Hardcore Punk"); similar things can be said of the heavy, Thrashy guitars. The drumming on the other hand, provided by no other than Dave Witte (see also: DISCORDANCE AXIS, HUMAN REMAINS, MUNICIPAL WASTE, ...) contains Grind influences and is everything but a monotonous beating of the skins. Foregoing genre constraints, it is diverse, technical and brutal all at once, almost making this disc worth listening to all by itself. A certain rhythm at the beginning of "2012" especially deserves to be mentioned here; you'll figure out which one I'm referring to when any attempts of nodding or banging along fail miserably. To its credit, "The Perfect Is..." has a really nice, full sound in general. Even the bass is clearly audible and thoroughly fills up the lower end. The excellent production thus ensures the listener will have his head neatly blown off by the just as excellent music.
Lyrically, Olbers mostly writes about the political and social decadence of the world as it is today. "180 Proof", for instance, criticizes the deception and "stupidification" of mankind by the media, a concept found throughout the album in identical or similar forms. However, history ("2012", one of the highlights of the CD in my opinion) and topics such as personal strength ("Battleship") are also drawn upon. The lyrics are very much worth reading, although you really will have to consult the booklet (which takes us back to Grindcore): the vocals overall are fairly unintelligible. Olbers' venomous, raw screaming and snarling fit the music so well, you won't mind it.
Some time will pass before the listener "gets" "The Perfect Is..." and the full potential of the album unfolds. Initially, the CD may seem incoherent until you finally catch on to the musical creativity of these four Americans, for here, oriental-inspired riffs ("Spinner Dunn" -- also remarkable: Witte's cymbal play) meet grooves that are heavy as a ton o' bricks ("Patient 957", "Battleship") and all-out punishment ("180 Proof"), often even within the same song. What all these different songs and styles have in common, though, is that they're flawless both technically and sound-wise, and that they are accompanied by intelligent lyrics.
Most listeners will not like the three interludes that are spread across the album. They're more experimental in nature and range from "may be skipped over in good conscience" to "will drive you absolutely nuts". They may, in their own ways, contribute to the concept behind the album, but if you're here for the music you'll do just fine without them.
To sum it up: "The Perfect Is The Enemy Of The Good", though not altogether perfect after all, is an intelligent, technical, challenging album which nevertheless hits quite hard. It does indeed show certain influences from the *core variety of things, but every Metal listener who is not entirely close-minded should be able to derive a fair bit of enjoyment from it. (Online March 4, 2006)