"Desolation" (Lifeforce; 2006)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

I had actually forgotten I’d reviewed Burning Skies’ sophomore release, “Murder by Means of Existence.” This disc was the band’s debut for the Lifeforce label back in 2004. I guess it didn’t make that much of an impression at the time despite the fact that I characterized it as a positive experience with the then burgeoning Lifeforce label.

Two plus years of listening to the metalcore and deathcore genres that are so central to Burning Skies’ sound has caused me to re-evaluate my original opinion of the band. And it goes without saying that the Lifeforce label has become a force to be reckoned with in the current metal scene.

Yet, fundamentally, not much has changed about Burning Skies’ sound on "Desolation." The band’s brutal and fast approach --  mixed with the best of mid-paced melo-death grooves and distinctive breakdowns -- remains satisfying. The music and vocals are non-stop persistent, relentless, dense, oppressive, crushing expressions – Burning Skies are one of the few bands to take this approach and make it work.

The fact that “Desolation” doesn’t differ that much from “Murder by Means of Existence” is evidence that my original comparison of Burning Skies to Hatebreed, Pantera, and Heaven Shall Burn still stands – however, I also hear a lot of the kind of brutal technicality that makes Lamb of God such a powerhouse to be reckoned with. 

The overall length of “Desolation” is shorter than “Murder by Means of Existence.” As such “Desolation” is crisp and more to the point than “Murder by Means of Existence” ever was. The shorter length gives “Desolation” far greater impact.

“Desolation” was produced by Patrick Engel and Alexander Dietz. The production is more than sufficient especially considering the persistent, relentless, dense, oppressive, crushing nature of the band’s music.

Burning Skies is Merv on vocals, Liam on guitars, Ben on guitar and vocals, Andie on bass, and Phil on drums.

For more information visit http://www.burningskies.com.uk

"Murder by Means of Existence" (Lifeforce; 2004)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

I was made aware of the Lifeforce label via Herod's "For Whom The Gods Would Destroy" which was a very positive listening experience for me. And I am pleased to report Burning Skies' "Murder By Means Of Existence" is my second positive brush with the Lifeforce label.

I could best describe Burning Skies as one of the many bands now trying to fill the huge gap created now that Pantera is no longer an official entity. Which is not to say that Burning Skies actually sounds like Pantera. Burning Skies are too steeped in the hardcore tradition for that to be a reasonable description of their sound. To understand where Burning Skies are coming from musically you must think more along the lines of Hatebreed with the now seemingly obligatory influences of Scandinavian death metal.

And the fact that Burning Skies hails from merry ol' England hasn't stopped the band from mixing hardcore's brutal and fast approach, Scandinavian death metal's subtle mid-paced groove influence, as well as modern metal's emphasis on breakdowns (or similar catchy riffs or mosh inducing riffs) interspersed amidst the brutality.

At eleven tracks (not counting the intro) and more than 50 minutes "Murder By Means Of Existence" goes on a little bit longer than it has to, but this is a relatively minor complaint. Hell, the songs' greater than average length (for metalcore, anyway) demands a certain level of technicality and merging of multiple riffs into one song and on that count Burning Skies certainly deliver.

Fans of bands in the vein of Heaven Shall Burn or even Cryptopsy will like Burning Skies' "Murder By Means Of Existence." I know the advance press on Burning Skies has compared them to their English brethren and metalcore cousins Stampin' Ground, but since I've never heard Stampin' Ground I can't make an opinion on the relevance of that comparison.

"Murder By Means Of Existence" was produced by Burning Skies. This is definitely one record where the production isn't great, but is more than sufficient to let the music's heaviness shine in all instances.

Burning Skies is Merv on vocals, Liam and Ben on guitars and vocals, Andie on bass, and Stu on drums.

For more information visit http://www.burningskies.co.uk/ 

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Revised: 11 Jun 2018 20:14:10 -0400.