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Burnt By the Sun is a fairly odd formation. Basically they are into bizarre metalcore and mix it with other styles ranging from grindcore to sludge. The first thing I balked at was the copied CD in the cover with 99 tracks on it. Of course, after some short research I learnt that in fact there are 10 songs in 34 minutes. I have no clue what was that good for, but it’s upsetting because, among other things, I couldn’t mention tracks even if I wanted to.
It’s another matter that I don’t, and there really is not much to emphasize. The music is not really like anything; it mostly resembles the more mental songs of Zao. That is, it represents the darkest, absolutely non-commercial side of metalcore. So twin guitar harmonies and melodic choruses, which are often associated with metalcore, can immediately be forgotten. Nonetheless, they differ from Zao in playing more technical music, especially drum-wise. All tracks are chock-full of twisted rhythms and tempo changes. Among the likes mentioned on the cover, Mastodon is the comparison I feel most appropriate, although with the slight difference that Mastodon actually manages to write good songs.
For unfortunately, despite all the dorkiness the overall picture is just unimpressive. The music is simply boring, when not irritating; various themes piled on one another in a completely arbitrary manner. Even if there are some good riffs here and there, they occur rarely and randomly, and the few good ideas are lost in the ocean of unmemorable themes. The music is obviously meant to be sick, but the whole thing feels strained and languid. The tracks fall apart, they have neither swim nor atmosphere. There are a lots of cliché solutions, sometimes one almost expects the drummer to perform some unmatched rhythm. Well, that falls short of making me faint.
And Mike Olender’s vocals fit hand in glove with all that. He’s screaming, screeching, whispering all along, and is pretty fast going on my nerves. A fairly unconvincing vocalist; it’s always clear what he is on to, and he never makes it – for me, at least. By the way, it’s also odd that he is constantly screaming throughout the whole album. There is not a single three-second interval when he remains silent, and I guess I would find this irritating even if he were a good vocalist. But he isn’t.
Being extremely original, sick and bizarre is all the rage these days, instead of just focusing on writing good songs; and this is frequently so at the expense of enjoyability. That’s exactly the case for Burnt By the Sun. They are original for sure; after listening to this release one certainly won’t mistake them for others. But that’s cold comfort. The fact that something is original doesn’t automatically imply that it’s good. Nor is this album.
Originally written for http://www.kronosmortus.hu