03. The Sweet Sound of Violence
04. Bauer Power
05. Desolation... (For the Denial of Ignorance)
07. Fairytale Supremacy
08. Caught in the Circle
09. Lurid Demolition
10. Could You Sink Any Lower?
2006 Lifeforce Records
Hailing from the UK, Burning Skies is a five piece metal outfit that combines heavy doses of melodic death and moshcore with a touch of thrash in their latest album, Desolation. The word on the street is that this deathcore style is currently riding waves of popularity, but quite frankly, I'm not so convinced of its worth.
But don't jump to conclusions with Burning Skies, as there are a lot of quality aspects of this record. The instrumentation is all extremely competent. While the riffs aren't exactly original sounding, the guitar work displays great talent, as does the drumming. The vocals cover the entire extreme music spectrum, constantly varying from guttural growls, to mid-ranged and high-pitched screaming, helping the listener avoid vocals-induced attention span issues. Even the sprinkling of gang vocals throughout the album is a nice touch and is far from being overused. In addition, Desolation clocks in at about a half hour, which is the perfect length for a record of this genre.I'm sure I'm not the only one who has difficulty ingesting death/metal/mosh-core records in excess of 45 minutes in length.
These highlights, however, are offset by a few low points, namely repetition. The nine tracks on Desolation (excluding the intro noise track), are all extremely similar, and tend to run together into one long deathcore-athon. Tracks that don't rely as heavily on breakdowns, such as "Damaged," and those with slower paced sections, such as "Lurid Demolition," attempt to provide some distinction between the songs, but after a number of listens, I'm still having a little difficulty distinguishing the tracks from one another. Though the abundance of breakdowns may bore many listeners, their presence was expected, and naturally comes with the territory. However, the massive number of guitar squeals on this album tends to grow old after a few tracks. Finally, the last track contains a glaring "mistake" when midway through the song, all music stops and a Will Ferrell quote begins, "Now if you don't think this song is the greatest song ever, I will fight you. That's no lie." While I don't necessarily think that the inclusion of an Anchorman b-side quote carries any pretentiousness, I do see it as a moment of botched hilarity, and it's the last thing stuck in my head every time I listen to the album. Though I won't judge an album by a five second movie quote, its placement makes it hard to overlook.
Bottom Line: Desolation is a competent slice of the deathcore pie, and will likely be well-received by fans of the genre. Repetition and an over-indulgence on guitar squeals will be a turn-off for many metal fans, but quite possibly a selling point for the kids that just can't get enough of this year's popular metal/hardcore style.