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Burn Damage - Age Of Vultures

Burn Damage
Age Of Vultures
by Ben Fitts at 06 June 2017, 7:41 PM

“Age Of Vultures”, the debut full-length from Portuguese groove/thrash quartet BURN DAMAGE is marked a rawness that sometimes services the songs, and sometimes doesn’t. BURN DAMAGE play unrelentingly heavy groove metal, with putrid guttural vocals and buzzsaw guitar distortion that is very reminiscent of “Chaos A.D.” era SEPULTURA. The riffs throughout “Age Of Vultures” are strong and the grooves very tight, but perhaps the most compelling thing about  “Age Of Vultures”, is the way BURN DAMAGE execute tempo changes in just the right way. “Age Of Vultures” has somewhat of a fast-slow contrast throughout most its tracks (sort of like the PIXIES classic loud-quiet contrast). Tracks such as “My Own Game”, “4 Little Pigs” and “Slaughterhouse Of Cowards” all see high speed thrashers devolve into dragging groove sections in the most pleasing way possible.

The production on “Age Of Vultures” is raw, sterile and all around fairly low budget sounding. On tracks where BURN DAMAGE delve deeper into the hardcore punk roots of the thrash metal component of their sound, such as “Refugee” and “My Own Game”, the crudeness of the production suits the music well, adding a coarseness that drives the music’s jagged tones home. However, on tracks such as “Acid Rain” and the album’s title track, both of which rely on metallic grandeur, the rough production makes the tracks sound too thin and stark, especially during the clean sections.

The strongest track on the album is its second, “My Own Game”, which functions as a perfect showcase of everything great about “Age Of Vultures”. Opening with a hummable yet driving string skipping riff, “My Own Game” melts into a solid paced, enveloping groove that it is almost impossible to sit still while listening to. “Age Of Vultures” is at its best when it seamlessly fades from proposlive metal into slower, groovy riffage that hits you in your gut, and it does so best on “My Own Game”.

The track “Slaughterhouse Of Cowards” also pulls off this move astoundingly well, but does so with basic structural differences. “Slaughterhouse Of Cowards” begins at a mid paced stomp, before building into a grinding frenzy, only to return to its original grooving state, showing that BURN DAMAGE can achieve their best tricks in different ways. Interestingly, the album’s third track, the PANTERA invoking “Seventh Seal”, deviates from the typical “Age Of Vultures” playbook, displaying none of the fast-slow contrast that marks most of the album, instead favoring a solid, consistent mid tempo throughout, as if BURN DAMAGE were dipping their toes in monotony to see if they could get it to work (it surprisingly does).

Overall, “Age Of Vultures” is a strong and extremely enjoyable debut album, despite its low budget quality. The riffs are catchy, the songs are well constructed and music makes the you involuntarily  bob your head throughout listening, the way great groove metal always does. Without the constraints of a cheap studio holding back their sonic potential, BURN DAMAGE could truly see themselves on the upper tiers of the metal world someday; they have the goods, and must  really be something to see live.

Songwriting: 8/10
Originality: 7/10
Memorobility: 10/10
Production: 5/10

4 Star Rating

1. Age Of Vultures
2. My Own Game
3. Seventh Seal
4. 4 Little Pigs
5. Refugee
6. Slaughterhouse Of Cowards
7. Acid Rain
8. Beyond Good And Evil
Inês Freitas: Vocals
Ivo Durães: Guitar
Rui Luís: Bass
Alexandre Grácio: Drums
Record Label: Raging Planet Records


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