April 24, 2008 | | 4

Burning Skies, Greed. Filth. Abuse. Corruption

Featuring a newly revamped line-up (Merv Hembrough on lead growls, Liam Phelan on vocals and guitar, Chuck Creese also on guitar, bassist Stephen Ives and Phil Tolfree on drums) since their last album, Bristol, UK based Burning Skies have returned with their first release in over two years. Combining elements of death metal, grindcore and thrash the group has matured over that time and actual present some new and refreshing ideas to the deathcore sub-genre.

Hembrough’s gore-grind influenced vocal delivery is deep, guttural and gnarly as hell. He swaps vocal duties back and forth with guitarist Phelan to great effect. The duo cover just about every range you could want from a dual vocal attack. Behind the growls and barks, the music is bone splintering in its heaviness, mixing hardcore breakdowns with grindcore blasts of destruction and riffs culled from the deepest, darkest depths of the death metal cesspool. The rhythm section make sure that you leave the listening experience so bruised and battered that your own mother would have difficulty recognizing you.

The opening track starts off with nice grooving riffs and hardcore shouts before stepping into a steaming pile of grinding deathcore with deep guttural growls and high pitched screams. There’s a level of ferocity to this track that simply cannot be ignored. Nonstop driving blasts from the drums stop and go and shift frequently with crushing, moshy riffs and a varied vocal approach to great effect.

You don’t have to be dead to be in hell
A slowly developing, static fueled bit of guitar work starts this off as a long, guttural growl rears its ugly head. This one is an industrialized bit of grinding death metal. It starts slowly but quickly picks up the pace with layered dual vocals and thrashing riffs. The lead at just after the brief stop at the two minute mark is a surprise and a welcome one at that.

“Y.G.F.F.” starts off with galloping riffs and an monstrous series of screams and growls before the band shift directions toward a grinding decent into madness. This one is aggressive and all over the place, shifting from mid-tempo hardcore to full-on thrashing chaos. I need more of it!

Rounding up the cattle
Wow, talk about an insane start to a song. High paced blasts and vocal delivery greet the listener right from the word “go.” The band settles down for a bit, settling into a nice groove, but quickly pick up the pace again with catchy riffing and driving drums. And bringing in the Yosemite Sam sound clip before erupting into a violent, grinding assault not only shows the band’s playful side, but is pure fucking genius.

Abuse to confuse
A nice bit of guitar work starts off “Abuse to confuse” before the vocals come in. Burning Skies give this one a fractured feel with off tempo blasts and crushing riffs. It’s a song that will definitely keep you on your toes as you work your way through it.

To be the man who has to beat the man
A quick thrashing riff gets this song gong as beefy drums and guttural vocals explode. There is a nice cadence through this one that will have you banging your skull with a quickness. Check out the crushing blasts just after the two minute mark — you might want to brace yourself a few second before it starts.

Spat out and stamped on
Layered dueling vocals sound great on this next track and chugging riffs keep the flow moving. There’s a great galloping, thrash feel to this one, but it’s tinged with grinding death, leaving an aggressive film all over it. There are also some of the more guttural vocals present on this one.

It’s hard to breathe with a bag on your head
Yes, actually, I would imagine that it would be hard to breathe with a bag on my head. This one is an interlude between tracks that’s filled with industrial noise and random sound clips.

Slashed, Thrashed and Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition
This is a bad ass song — plain and simple. The opening to it is reminiscent of old school thrash, yet has a much more aggressive and raw feel to it. There’s some The Legacy era Testament thrown in for good measure and shows these dudes have respect for the origins of their sub genre and can combine those elements into their on take on grinding death. Awesome!

I don’t have the liner notes to this disc, but I can only imagine that this one portrays the glory that is the end of emo. Man, I can’t wait for that day. This is a beefy, mosh filled effort on the band’s part complete with grind explosions and violence.

Sticky Richard
I don’t know if I ever want to meet “Sticky Richard,” nor am I sure I want to know how he got his nickname, but I do know that the final track to this standout release is fucking amazing. It’s full of Dillinger Escape Plan like timing, but goes well beyond that, incorporating brutal death elements into the mix, leaving you incoherent on the floor. After the chaotic opening to it, the band settling into a nice chugging bit of mosh with thrash fueled drums and death inspired riffing.

~ ~ ~

If heavy were an infectious disease, then Burning Skies would be quarantined in a ventilated holding cell, covered in oozing pustules. Each and every track on Greed.Filth.Abuse.Corruption is beyond heavy in every sense of the term — crushing riffs, pulverizing rhythms and vocals straight from the very bowels of hell. If you’re tired of the same old deathcore bullshit and need something more urgent and innovative, then definitely check out latest from Burning Skies.

Favorite Tracks:
All of them

Additional Notes: