Burnt by the Sun - _Heart of Darkness_
(Relapse, 2009)
by: Daniel Cairns (8.5 out of 10)
Six years. Six bloody years I waited for this. I was still in University when _The Perfect Is the Enemy of the Good_ came out. If anything, it shows up just how little I have achieved in the time since I bought it. The members of Burnt by the Sun have probably all had kids, got married, bought pets, etc. And what have I done? Sat in my room, crying and masturbating.

Aaaaanyway.

I can happily confirm that _Heart of Darkness_ is a raging beast of a record that pisses all over most things I've heard this year. It probably isn't as good as their 2003 opus (which I urge you pick up, as it's a frigging masterpiece), but that's like saying Gandhi wasn't as good as Jesus. It's a half hour boot to the head that shows just how potent metalcore can be when not in the hands of haircuts and children.

As soon as "Inner Station" kicks in, you wonder if it's really been six years. Most bands tend to make a bungle after being gone for so long, but from the first minute, it's apparent that Burnt by the Sun have lost none of the politically charged ire that made them so gloriously violent sounding in the first place. Things segue seamlessly into "Cardiff Giant", which is equally ruthless. Also, it's called "Cardiff Giant". (I knew a guy called David Martin from Cardiff. He was a fat fucking mess who once came into a non-uniform day wearing a fluorescent Adidas shellsuit. With Adidas earrings. He was also extremely stupid. I wonder if Dave Witte et al peered into my head and wrote a song about him? Spooky. Anyway, the song kills.) "F Unit" is next, and we get a change of pace: it's a bit slower and spikier. Mike Olender's awesome slurred vocals are pushed to the forefront.

Basically, the album's relentless. It's face-rippingly fast and testicle-crushingly heavy. (There's a song called "Goliath", for Gods sake. It's louder than Brian Blessed.) It's great, but it's missing some of the progressive elements that made their previous record so amazing. Between every assault, there'd be a gentler, creepier eastern passage, or thirty seconds of arty dissonant noise. The closest they come to emulating the progressive heights of that record on _Heart of Darkness_ is album highlight "Rust | Future Primitive", which adds a melodic (for Burnt by the Sun, at least) vocal to its chundering, churning wall of noise. Apart from that though, it's nothing but a pummeling. A top quality pummeling nonetheless...

And a hell of an epitaph. Yup, this is the last we'll hear of Burnt by the Sun, as after a few shows they're disbanding, and it sucks. Despite that, we should all be thankful that they all came together to make _Heart of Darkness_. It's another addition to what has basically been an incredible year for metal. If you'd never bothered with the band before, now's your chance. Or Colonel Kurtz'll fuck you up.

Contact: http://www.myspace.com/burntbythesun

(article published 8/10/2009)


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