Burnt By The Sun

Heart Of Darkness

Written by: AP on 28/09/2009 21:53:39

Sometimes it's difficult to take a band's decision to permanently call it quits seriously, especially given the god knows how many reunions we have seen in the past few years to thunderous applause. It feels like a cheap marketing trick: first the band sells out a number of last shows ever, goes missing for a couple of years, and then resurfaces to sell out venues double the size of their past glory days as a band reborn, refreshed and strengthened. We are to welcome these breaking news with our jaws on the floor and spread the word that this band is back with a vengeance. And yet we are to believe that Burnt By The Sun, a band that enjoys a near cult status despite the fact that I have never heard of them before, are absolutely, definitely going to lay down their weapons and surrender now that "Heart of Darkness" has been released (save for an upcoming European tour and a number of off-dates on their side of the Atlantic).

Burnt By The Sun, I have learned through research, has never much strayed from their formula, and this new album is supposedly the band's final attempt at their take on intense progressive hardcore. While it is commendable that the band's previous efforts have left listeners bowing in respect to their wholesome approach, the state of music today is such that with nothing new to bring to the table, there is little chance of survival. Certainly the first few songs on "Heart of Darkness" suggest that the band is running on fumes, regurgitating their former glory days, and succeeding only in being good at what they do, rather than redrawing the lines on the map. For this reason exactly, this album review has been pending for too long. Because the straightforward "Inner Station", "Cardiff Giant" and "F-Unit" don't exactly ease me into the music. It's hard, heavy and dissonant and the only instances of memorabilia in the trio come at a few intelligently placed bridges in "Inner Station", which resemble post-hardcore in their style (specifically, listen in at about 0:40 and 2:00), and the interesting off-time signature in "F-Unit".

Once this triplet looms in the rear view mirror, however, the monotony is offset. Genuine progressive elements and chaos take over, and "There Will Be Blood" brings with it an ambient black metal vibe complete with ominous tremolo riffing and a hypnotic tempo. The proclaimed use of melancholic, dark melodies and streamlined off-rhythm percussion to craft some truly malicious music suddenly sounds that much more platable. If there is one song to take home from this beast, "There Will Be Blood" is it. "Goliath" continues with the new found creative force, producing a piece of music that sounds like Gojira swallowed a Mastodon (to force such a trio of mythical/fictional monsters into one sentence was as necessary as it was intentional, so bear with me). And by the time the fantastically eerie, progressive epic "Rust | Future Primitive" nears its end, it's becoming obvious that the album swings on a tightrope of hit-or-miss material.

"Beacon" injects some grindcore discord into the mix in a short but effective two minutes, marking that the climax has passed at this point, and these remaining three songs take on a slippery downward spiral to conclude the album with little excess or fanfare. So with no familiarity with the band's earlier material, there will be no attempts at comparisons made in this review. If this album is indeed the band's swansong, then the band will write itself off without much commotion. The material is unquestionably solid, and broken down piece by piece this album is beyond satisfactory, but even if "Heart of Darkness" is a triumphant mark in the band's career, so much has happened since the band's inception that releases like this rain down from every cloud every day, and amid the debris of one no-good after the other it's often difficult to make an impact - especially when an album like Emmure's "Felony" can find its way to a high position on the billboards.


Download: A Party to the Unsound Method, There Will Be Blood, Goliath, Rust | Future Primitive

For the fans of: Candiria, Coalesce, Crowpath

Listen: Myspace

Release date 24.08.2009


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