01. Abril Lost Ojos
02. Washington Tube Steak
05. 180 Proof
07. Arrival of Niburu
08. Patient 957
11. Spinner Dunn
12. Pentagons and Pentagrams
13. Rev 101
2003 Relapse Records
by Rob McFeters
I’ll be the first to admit that I was somewhat skeptical about listening to Burnt By The Sun’s second full-length. I have been a big fan since their split with The Luddite Clone, and have immensely enjoyed all the previous releases. When BBTS lost a guitarist, and decided to continue on as a four-piece, I was wondering how they could keep up the intensity, with such technical and heavy songs. Well I am here to say that not only have these guys kept up with previous releases, but they have written their most thoughtful record yet.
When those familiar with Burnt By The Sun hear “The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good,” they will notice the striking lack of insane blast songs; you know, the ones that barely reached the two-minute mark. In their place, BBTS has written songs that are just that: well-written songs. Don’t get me wrong. I thoroughly enjoyed the short, technically chaotic songs that defined their earlier releases. However, I believe that this newest record is more atmospheric and shows a sincere attempt to write songs, which are full of substance. That is not to say the chaos and technicality have disappeared entirely. Instead, BBTS have spread the blasts and the chaotic moments evenly across this album.
“The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good” shows that these guys can write very heavy songs without cramming five riffs into 15 seconds. There is even a slightly melodic (albeit creepy) touch to some songs,reminiscent of the sound several Hydra Head bands have (i.e., Knut). My absolute favorite quality of this record is the infusion of the almost stoner-metal sound, which is slightly beefed up. “Forlani” showcases a blues-influenced guitar riff with blasting drums, ala Soilent Green; very different for Burnt By The Sun, but flawlessly executed.
John Adubato really stepped up to the plate, with all guitar duties falling on him. After hearing these songs, it is apparent that he has done more creative things to make up for the loss of a guitar. I am very impressed with the balance of chaos and groove the guitars maintain. Vocally, Mike Olender has changed. Instead of screaming over an entire song, and trying to fit all the lyrics in, he now lets the music do what it has to do. His style also seems different, because he seems to enunciate words more clearly now. If you are familiar with Dave Witte, then I shouldn’t have to tell you that he is nothing short of amazing. While his trademark blasts are still here, I feel he really shows everything he is capable of, with grooves and interludes. In my humble opinion, Witte is one of heavy music’s best drummers.
Lyrically, Olender hasn’t changed that much. The tongue in cheek, social/political writings do not totally dominate the entire album, as there are some more personal topics touched upon. It seems as though the lyric writing has become more thoughtful as well.
Bottom Line: If you only like Burnt By The Sun for their sheer technical capabilities, then listen to their earlier material. But if you are interested in this band, and love evolution of heavy music, then you cannot afford to pass this up. I could understand how many fans might be turned off by the longer songs, the increase of groove, or the deeper, atmospheric moments, but I suggest giving this record more listens. It is a constant, heavy album, not just a collection of songs.