I have had the pleasure of seeing Burning the Dream live as they are a band that will play anytime and anywhere. They have fun on stage and always have a laugh with the crowd and get people moving with their monstrous grooves and riffs. What the band realised that they had to do, though, to take the next step up the ladder was to get in that studio and record something for the masses to hear. Burning the Dream have been active as a five piece band since around 2014, so they have now had plenty of time to come up with material worthy of their debut EP Darkwaters. So is it any good and should you spend a few quid in getting this EP when it comes out in early 2018? There is a very simple answer to that question, which is obviously a big “yes” and this is why…
When I saw the title for the first song, “One Shot One Kill”, my immediate thoughts were that Burning the Dream are about to release a Dying Fetus cover version of the aforementioned track. That was quickly dispelled with the opening sequence of the track, where it starts off light before Gojira style riffs are emanated from these speakers. The band recorded the EP themselves and had Chris Clancy of Wearing Scars fame mix and master it at the Audioworks Productions for the band and the quality of the sound of this EP has to receive a special mention here.
Vocalist Paul Kelly has a plethora of vocal styles, ranging from hardcore to death metal growls on occasion within this track. For the most part, Paul spits hardcore vocals that smash your face in. The rhythm section of Richy and Richy on bass and drums respectively (the band parted ways with bassist Rowan earlier in the year, so his role for the EP was filled in by drummer Richy on double duties!) keep everything in order and pummel you with their low-end tones. Guitar riffs from Greg and Iain are of the Contradictions Collapse-era Meshuggah variety, with the intermittent riffing style that adds power and groove that just makes the listener nod their head in acknowledgement. This is a very strong start for this EP.
Next song “Requiem” starts off with a nice melodic riff before the vocals from Paul take over this track. Paul is out with his harsher metalcore vocals on this track which suits the barrage of noise behind him. That noise consists of more metalcore riffs than the opening track with the element of groove, though that will be something to experience in the live environment. It’s at the end of the song that I feel that things are at their most powerful and will turn most heads.
“Who Are We To Judge” again starts off with a nice melodic touch with intricate riffs displayed by Greg and Iain throughout. This changes when Paul’s vocals kick in and the pace is picked up somewhat with intermittent riffs of the highest order on show. Drummer Richy certainly pummels that snare drum to the extent that the listener feels sorry for it. There are progressive, metalcore and thrash elements with this song but it’s at the 2 minute 20 seconds point where it has the best riff of the EP so far. Again, Meshuggah and Gojira come to mind but I just picture the crowd losing it to this riff in the pit.
“Wired Empire” is next and it’s more of the same groove orientated riffage from the boys with Paul spitting forth his vocals in a more metalcore voice than previous tracks. There is an all out thrash section to this song which got this head banging in acknowledgement, before slowing right down to put more emphasis on the power of the riff and vocals. The thrash style riffs will surely get the pit going again and I would not be surprised if this is one of the opening tracks of their live set. I do love how it’s backed up on occasion with growls which immediately put a huge grin on my face.
Onto the last song and title track of the EP, “Darkwaters” will have a tough task of ending this EP on a high due to the quality of the previous tracks. Running at over eight minutes long, the song captures all of the progressive, thrash and metalcore elements that they have set out to enhance the listening experience. There are so many structures in this song and especially being this long, it would have to be done right all the time otherwise it would fall flat on its face. Thankfully every aspect works perfectly together be it the more mellow acoustic parts or the thrash style riffs on show here. From the start of the song, you can feel the atmosphere building up from the mid-paced chugging riffs before bass drops with the heavily influenced Meshuggah moments once again. But you know what, it sounds mighty damn good. This song could be considered as the ballad of the EP but please don’t be thinking that there is anything Skid Row on show here. The song is more slow to mid-paced throughout with occasional flurries of faster moments but this is a very fitting way to finish off this EP.
As we all know my form of music is death metal, however, you have to appreciate that this band have talent. Although I have referenced Meshuggah and Gojira repeatedly throughout this review, Burning The Dream have enough of their own identity to create a sound of their own. I am looking forward to seeing all of these songs in the live environment after the EP is released. I am more than happy that this band are local, however, after this release they should be getting some recognition I feel and this will lead to good times for Burning The Dream.
Darkwaters will be released in early 2018