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A once in a blue moon album - 97%

RedChimeraGhost, September 22nd, 2012

This Massachusetts sextet was really on to something when they made this album. Amidst one of the most cliche-ridden subgenres in not only metal but music overall, metalcore, they were able to come out with an album that defied their genre, coming up with a sound that manages to both sound very distinct and pretty darn good too.

What makes this album work so well is the members' ability to combine the elements of technical, death and progressive metal into the genre without specifically becoming any of those genres. All of the instruments play at strong skill levels rather than being limited to being fast or heavy, and still with a definitively good variation of both. Darren Cesca is an absolute monster on this album with some fantastic double bass work and speed as well as strong control and use of the drums in the sound, even cranking out a few lightning fast blast beats. The intro to "Watching Dead Leaves Fall" is one of the most brutal and crazy I've ever heard from a drummer, much less in Metalcore. The guitars also play both speed and have many riffs all over the album that make me want to bang my head.

One of the unique things to Burn in Silence is their usage of keyboards. They provide an additional element to the wall of sound, creating additional power to their music, somewhat like power metal but not quite the way that one who listens to power metal would be accustomed to hearing. They add a nice element to the album, helping give the songs a strong and fresh layer of melody.

As for the vocals, Chris Harrell provides one of the best recordings of vocals in all of metalcore. His screams are a very interesting sound, not sounding quite like growls or screams but a combination of both for most occasions, though he uses both growls and screaming for different parts to great success. His clean vocals are also pretty solid, sounding neither whiny nor forced. While not the best singing, he fits the album and the genre, and provides another skill to his versatile repetoire.

The songs are well written, perhaps not insanely in the lyrics department but they all have a fair amount of uniqueness and there are many great parts in them. Even the most "ballad" like song, "The Age In Which Tomorrow Brings", is well composed and sounds good, ending on a somewhat haunting piano melody that finishes the album in a unique way.

This album somehow manages to stay in its genre, containing breakdowns here and there, and still avoids a number of cliches and the staleness the genre is very full of. And it ends up being one of the heaviest releases in the genre. It's such a shame it had to be so short lived, these guys only made one demo and a 10 song album before going on to other bands, some of them big names in their genre (Arsis, Job for a Cowboy, Black Dahlia Murder), and much of that in my opinion doesn't match up to this album. I really wish they would have stuck around for at least another album instead of leaving this one as a diamond in the rough that I happened to pick up for a mere 3$ in the bargain bin at a local record store. While it's not recorded to the best sound quality, this album shines so far above many other metalcore bands in terms of musical content, intricacy and even brutality that even if you aren't a fan of the genre I would recommend it. And while it isn't quite perfect, it's pretty darn good.

(Also as an interesting note, the album cover "booklet" unfolds into a small fake movie poster, which is a very cool usage of the little booklet, and I proudly hang it up in my bedroom wall.)