Burnt By the Sun - Heart of Darkness
Relapse Records
10 songs (33:13)
Release year: 0
Relapse Records
Reviewed by Phil

Man, it feels like I’ve been waiting on Heart of Darkness forever. Since The Perfect Is the Enemy of the Good knocked me on my ass almost six years ago, I’ve paced and prayed for a proper follow up. Thankfully, my waiting wasn’t in vain. Burnt By the Sun are back in the saddle for a final album, and they’re burlier than ever. From the first blistering seconds of Inner Station, there’s never any doubt who this is. This album hits you like a two by four, squarely in the face, and it doesn’t let up for 33 minutes.

Evidently the band formed Heart of Darkness following the old adage “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” They’re not really bringing anything new to the table in 2009; they’re just proving that they’re better than the rest. Thus, if you are some legally insane troglodyte that hated Burnt By the Sun before, you’re still going think they stink. But, if you were a whip smart intellectual that recognized the band as living, breathing musical gods, then you’re in for a super special treat.

When dissecting Burnt By the Sun’s sound, it’s easy to see Dave Witte’s drumming is the absolute backbone of the band. Witte is a member of roughly 3,452 bands, but it seems like Burnt By The Sun is the group where he can really let go. He forms an impenetrable wall of drumming on this album made up of different tempos and textures. Witte adds so much talent and intensity to the tunes that it often sounds like there are 12 drummers beating the hell out of a music store’s worth of drums. But, in the end, it’s just Witte trying to end the world with a swirling, percussive apocalypse.

The tracks that make up Heart of Darkness are mostly three to four minute burners. Inner Station has a lightning fast intro, and the song is packed with tons of intense screams and crunching guitars. F-Unit is an absolute monster that begins with 37 seconds of crushing drumming and full-chunk riffing. After that, the song goes all over the place. One section is just vocals and drums; another section is full-bore speed core. There Will Be Blood is classic Burnt By the Sun that showcases everything at which the band excels. The oppressively heavy tune is formed from frantic drumming, angular riffs and throat-shredding vocals. After a few listens, you too will find yourself humming the riff and burping out “There be blood!” at inappropriate moments. Beacon has a funky little rhythm that keeps things interesting, and Witte even busts out a blast beat towards the end of the song. The only song on the album that really breaks the mold is Rust (Future Primitive). Here, the band channels their inner Voivod for five minutes and 30 seconds of sci-fi groove. The song starts spacey, but a crippling riff at the two-minute mark brings it crashing back down to earth. Then, the band smartly rides the strong riff to the end of the song. Album closer The Wolves Are Running is a sprawling, smothering tune. From the awesome distorted intro riff to the final circular guitar line, it seems a fitting end for an important band.

But lets hope this really isn’t the end for Burnt By The Sun. After all, the final vocal on the album is a screamed, “Fight to the death!” After producing an album as strong as Heart of Darkness, it should be easy for anyone – the band included – to see that Burnt By the Sun is far from dead.

Killing Songs :
There Will Be Blood, Rust (Future Primitive), The Wolves Are Running
Phil quoted 91 / 100
0 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are 3 replies to this review. Last one on Tue Aug 18, 2009 5:03 pm
View and Post comments