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Burnt By The Sun Heart of Darkness

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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
Our score 8

by Rob Parker
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.

Comments (25) post new comment
anonymous 8/24/2009 1:58:22 PM

sick art + solid tunes. glad these dudes are back


RobbyRed_ 8/24/2009 2:05:23 PM

Wow, a LB review that isn't 8 months after the fact.


XPoopX_ 8/24/2009 2:21:57 PM

I would have given a 9/10.


J_ 8/24/2009 3:00:45 PM

Agreed, at least 9/10 but a great review nonetheless. One of the more solid releases this year. Heart of Darkness has excellent replay value which is hard to come by these days.


twat_waffle_ 8/24/2009 3:09:55 PM

Good shit!!! Good band!!!


Brett__ 8/24/2009 3:22:15 PM

Terrific listen, but horrible read right here. I'm so brassed off right now.


khann_ 8/24/2009 4:07:00 PM

LONG LIVE NEW JERSEY. HUMAN REMAINS REUNION PLEASE, MR WITTE...SEEMS LIKE YOU'VE GOT SOME TIME ON YOUR HANDS.


wtf_ 8/24/2009 4:13:12 PM

brassed off????


Omegaman_ 8/24/2009 4:21:04 PM

Agree with Khann, and this review is shit, reads like a 12 year old wrote it.


anonymous 8/24/2009 4:48:53 PM

lambgoat hype album of 2009


penguinsrock_ 8/24/2009 4:53:55 PM

Is it possible to find someone who can review an album without lapsing into immature and shallow self conscious prattling? This shit is so irritating.


Jessmode_ 8/24/2009 5:15:12 PM

I don't think Nick Hale was on this. The liner notes don't have him listed, and he's in zero of the promos for this record.


Godfather_ 8/24/2009 5:22:29 PM

Yeah, as I suspected he isn't on it, only LIVE, as John said. Jesse man, UK Tour, the demo rips.


HBDad_ 8/24/2009 5:35:25 PM

Great album!


ion_stasi_ 8/25/2009 11:39:00 AM

f*ck me, the production on this album is almost flawless and the riffs are pretty cool too. Great record.


xenosapien_ 8/25/2009 1:34:38 PM

This is the worst review I've ever read on lambgoat. The f*cking idiot thinks Nick Hale played on it? Try fact checking before writing, moron.


Rob_ 8/25/2009 2:58:22 PM

Hah, shit. Should be noted that when I wrote this, it was about 2-3 weeks before the album came out. The promo link I had didn't mention the lineup, and every source I found about the album release said the band had re-formed with Nick Hale and recorded the album. Apologies for any confusion.


cultclassic_ 8/26/2009 10:47:21 AM

Review was ehhh. You're supposed to be partial to a band in your reviews, not saying how much you love them and their old shit, and how excited you were for the new album. 7/10


omega_ 8/28/2009 1:28:34 PM

new coalesce was better. 7/10.


nick_ 8/29/2009 12:54:26 AM

New Coalesce is better? I slap my dick on your face.


Andrew_ 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


minusmyself_ 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.....


ballsballsballsneenuballs_ 9/3/2009 2:18:19 PM

another, better review of the record: http://demagogued.blogspot.com/


anonymous 9/3/2009 2:39:42 PM

Ah, Blogspot. Certainly a hotbed of high reviewing standards.


Dillinger1 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