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Burden of Life - The Makeshift Conqueror Award winner

Burden of Life
The Makeshift Conqueror
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 17 March 2020, 6:23 AM

BURDEN OF LIFE was founded in the summer of 2003 but it wasn’t until the end of 2005 that they started to take it more seriously. From this point on the band began to rehearse extensively. They hit the stage for the first few times in 2006 and on 17th February 2007 their first, totally self-produced album, simply called “Burden Of Life” was released. More concerts followed and over the course of the year 2008 the second full-length “Ashes Of Existence” was recorded and subsequently released on 14th November 2008. The album was generally well-received by the press and gave the band the opportunity to play more live shows in 2009 and 2010. After spending a week at Audiolodge Studios near Schweinfurt in spring of 2010 the EP “In The Wake Of My Demise” was released on 10th September 2010. They are now back with “The Makeshift Conqueror,” which contains nine tracks.

“The Makeshift Conqueror Pt 1” leads off the album.  It’s a sweet little song with clean vocals and a jovial melody. When the distorted guitars hit, the melodies shoot to the moon. “Geitzblitz” opens with a ton of melodies, and from various instruments. At eight minutes in length, there is plenty of time to explore. Clean harmonies come at you while the lead guitar carries the melody. Christian’s clean vocals are quite powerful. Some harsh vocals are there as well but do not steal the thunder of the cleans. It’s amazing how much layering they have here as well, which I always view as a positive thing.

“Goddess of the River” is over seven minutes in length. Operating at a quicker pace, the melodies are subdued in favor of harsh vocals. It takes a pause just after the half way mark, to allow it to build. A fantastic guitar solo comes into play as well, along with some meter changes. “Anthem of the Unbeloved” opens with a nifty little melody. Pretty soon, vocal harmonies shine through the clouds like a beacon of light. They are so very charming, and this song pushes melody unabashedly. It takes a melancholy turn around the half way mark, with the sound dropping to clean guitars, flute, bass and drums. When distorted guitar comes back, it builds to a crescendo through the end that is absolutely beautiful, and ends on soft piano notes.

“Sealing our Fate” comes at you with a menacing growl out of the gates, with a fast and aggressive riff and deadly harsh vocals. This is indeed the Death side of the genre and album. Still, melodies are built in the chorus even with the harsh vocals. Nifty lead guitar work stands out as well, along with some keys. “Pisces” is a shorter song but still done with careful consideration. The harmony builds in the guitars and in the vocals as well. It’s like a quadruple dose that shoots for the sky but ends up in the heavens above.

“Regression (Goddess’s Return)” is another long song that opens with long, clean vocal wails. If Christian is the band’s only vocalist, man does he have a wide range of talents. The guitars keep pushing the melody along strongly and this band sounds as polished as they come. “Trust my own Heart” is a sad and melancholy song opening with solemn piano notes and poignant vocals. Giving Christian some time to showcase his voice here was a good call. Female vocals alternate in and when the distorted guitars close in it’s as if waves of joy crash over your head.

“The Makeshift Conqueror” is the closing song, at close to eleven minutes in length. Melodies soar out of the gates, with a marching quality from the drums. The ominous conclusion is as epic as they come. Harsh vocals lead the charge at first, then the melody line comes through, like a bright light in the pit of Hades itself. It comes to a solemn crescendo just before the end, like hanging onto a prized possession as the world ends, clinging to it as the earth falls beneath your feet. What a fantastic ride this album takes you on…it’s a journey from start to finish, and one where the journey is more important than the destination.

This album was billed as Melodic Death Metal, but it is much more than that. Normally many bands of the genre are more interested in the Death side of things, and try to toughen up that sound, but here, it’s the opposite. They smartly spend more time on the melodic side of things, making for a very memorable listening experience. The band members are fantastic musicians, and very skilled at intense songwriting while pushing melody to the forefront. You can tell this is a veteran act but the music is still so fresh. Other Melodic Death Metal bands take notice…this is how you write memorable music for your fans. Bravo, boys, bravo!

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 9

5 Star Rating

1. The Makeshift Conqueror Pt 1.
2. Geisteblitz
3. Goddess of the River
4. Anthem of the Unbeloved
5. Sealing our Fate
6. Pisces
7. Regression (Goddess’s Return)
8. Trust my own Heart
9. The Makeshift Conqueror Pt. 2
Christian Kötterl – Vocals, Guitars
Michael Schafberger – Guitars
Karl-Arnold Bodarwé – Bass
Matthias Babl – Drums
Record Label: Noizegate Records


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