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Burnt By The Sun Heart of Darkness

Burnt By The Sun - Heart of Darkness
01. Inner Station
02. Cardiff Giant
03. F-Unit
04. A Party to the Unsound Method
05. There Will Be Blood
06. Goliath
07. Rust (Future Primitive)
08. Beacon
09. The Great American Dream Machine
10. The Wolves are Running
2009 Relapse Records


Reviewed by: Rob Parker   //   Published: 8/24/2009

Whatever their ups and downs, Burnt By the Sun have always impressed me with their ability to consistently release albums that are equal parts brassed off, heavy and catchy as fuck. I enjoyed 2003's The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good, but it didn't quite connect in the same way that Soundtrack to the Personal Revolution. I've still logged a frankly embarrassing amount of time listening to both releases, at any rate.

The return of more or less the original line-up got me pretty excited for Heart of Darkness. The only newcomer is Nick Hale, and I'm happy to announce that he fits in perfectly with the rest of the band. The dual guitarwork between John Adubato and Nick Hale is properly chaotic, without ever sounding directionless. (editor's note: Hale did not contribute to the writing or recording of this album) Both of these men have clearly taken a few pages from Brutal Truth's playbook when it comes to writing riffs, without ever blatantly ripping anything off. This, coupled with the downright nasty production job, with its perfect balance between distortion and clarity, means that this album hits with uncompromising ferocity. Midway through "The Great American Dream Machine" the guitar tone takes on a distinctly Jane Doe-esque treble. Not so much that it feels like a copy and paste from the album, but just enough that it offers a kindly nod to the acts that "got this shit right."

Vocally, Heart of Darkness is every bit as vengeful as I've come to expect from Burnt by the Sun, embracing every ounce of fury exhibited during the early days of metallic hardcore while mostly sidestepping the facepalmingly awful lyrical content. Okay, I DID chuckle at Olender on "There Will Be Blood" when he unnecessarily snarls "I'll show you pissed off!" and I momentarily had the mental image of Olender mid-yell with the caption: "My pissed off. Let me show you it."

And sweet Christ: the drumming. Dave Witte is behind the kit. That's about all you need to know. They honestly could not find a better man for the job, as he keeps the songs from even approaching the stagnation that plagues other bands of this genre. Every one-off short-lived chugfest is accented by his deft fills and off-time rhythms. The only notable stumble I can see is when the band shows off their hardcore chops on "There Will Be Blood" which feels a little to generic when considered in the context of the rest of the album.

By and large, the songwriting is top-notch, as Heart of Darkness is everything I've come to expect from the band. As always, the BBTS knows when to ease back on the throttle. For example, "Goliath" periodically sees the band letting the bottom drop out from an all out onslaught for a more measured, melodic attack that gives extra depth to the album. It's little touches like this that keep Heart of Darkness afloat.

Bottom Line: The phrase "Blending the heaviness of metal with the passion of hardcore" that was bandied around with a straight face during metalcore's not-so-humble beginnings has long since been hammered into an absurd joke. And while I'm painfully aware that this review reads like a love letter to Burnt By the Sun, but if this is how they intend to go out, they're going out on one hell of a high note, while at the same time proving that this genre has some life left in it.

Dillinger1   posted 12/28/2011 4:56:20 AM
The final chapter of an amazing run. Hearts Of Darkness is second only to the Soundtracks album which in my opinion stands as one of the best hardcore/metalcore releases in the last 10 years easily
anonymous   posted 9/3/2009 2:39:42 PM
Ah, Blogspot. Certainly a hotbed of high reviewing standards.
ballsballsballsneenuballs_   posted 9/3/2009 2:18:19 PM
another, better review of the record: http://demagogued.blogspot.com/
minusmyself_   posted 9/1/2009 2:27:52 PM
this band always sounds the same i used to love them but god damn change it up a bit.....
Andrew_   posted 8/30/2009 5:34:14 PM
FINALLY!!! after what? 6 years..Well i guess it was worth the wait. Play some north american dates ok fellas

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