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Burning Dead – Fear & Devastation Award winner

Burning Dead
Fear & Devastation
by Gary Hernandez at 13 March 2022, 1:26 PM

Some metal bands stand out for their technical expertise, some for their innovation, some for their mind-bending concepts. My favorite, though, are the bands that differentiate themselves through their sheer viscera. Sadly, these bands rarely get the attention they deserve and, because of their excessive intensity, they often burn out quickly. Some, of course, make a lasting legacy. I am hoping BURNING DEAD, a Thrash metal foursome from Paris, France, falls into this last category. They have two releases under their belt—one EP back in 2018 and a full-length album, “Fear & Devastation,” which dropped on October 29, 2021 via O&M Music. Their debut EP was promising; their recent album makes good on that promise and delivers an utterly crushing album.

From the top: Orco’s riffs are devastating. He finds his groove and just digs deep. His solos have this edge to them that makes you listen to every nuance. While he isn’t a technical virtuoso, his riffs are monstrous, and his solos are compelling. The rhythm section of JP and Saraknyal is disciplined and formidable. I should also note that when they break their leash and run, their individual strengths are more than obvious.

And then there is Drina Hex. Drina’s vocals are brutally raw, real, and passionate. Clearly, she is not a classically trained vocalist, but goddamn you can feel her pain, her fury, her strength. Drina alternates between harsh and clean but leans more into the harsh. Her clean vocals, however, are curiously shaped. You can tell she isn’t emulating someone else, but just putting herself out there. It isn’t a beautiful voice, but it is distinctively and uniquely her. It also creates an awesome juxtaposition with her harsh vocals. I had to double-check to make sure there weren’t actually two vocalists.

Fear & Devastation” comprises ten tracks, including a re-recording of “Eternal War,” from their 2018 EP, and one short instrumental, “Devastation.” As the title suggests, the album explores some of the more crueler aspects of our existence. It is especially topical with the ongoing tensions across the world, notably in Eastern Europe though this album was written and recorded prior the Ukrainian invasion. I guess it just goes to show that war—person on person, country on country, man on nature, take your pick—is timeless. And there is one common denominator. We are our own worst enemy.

Standout tracks on this album are many. First on my list is “Eternal War.” This track is just so damned perfect from the locomotive riffs to Drina’s perfectly pitched vocals, especially the barks and growls, to the piston driven bass and drums. When Drina intones “The sound of metal on metal,” it’s like metal mana. Clearly there's a reason that this track was lifted from their 2018 EP and given new life here.

Next on my list is “See Who I Am.” This rip in the void features Drina oscillating between her clean and harsh vocals. When she shouts: “Tears will fall from his eyes / See who I am / Remnant of man,” you see her existential soul bared. This styling continues with “She,” which not only hits you with its guttural cry of hope but also provides space for JP to show off his considerable talent. Third on my list is “Silent Scream,” a Doom-infused piece that rages against the atrocities of our world and articulates just how it feels to be a silent scream drowning in an ocean of complicity. The last words on this track, and the last words of the album are:

“One cry of opposition to millions of people saying yes
My silent scream will remain the only voice, I say NO
Among the screams that speak for the holocaust of the world”

And this indictment sits, stings, burns as the outro plays through and the album concludes. It’s like witnessing the aftermath of a natural disaster. The primeval force is gone but evidence of its power remains in the brokenness around you and in you.

I will repeat: What makes “Fear & Devastation” so good is its passion and viscera. This is an album to be felt. And sure, just like most Metal albums you can feel its wrath through your speakers when you crank it up—I mean, that’s the way is with volume—but the true test is even when you play this album at low volumes you can still feel the heat rolling of it.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 10
Production: 7

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1.  Fear
2.  Their Coming
3.  The Warrior
4.  Eternal War (2021)
5.  See Who I Am
6.  She
7.  Convicted
8.  Army of Darkness
9.  Silent Scream
10.  Devastation
Lineup:
JP – Bass
Saraknyal – Drums
Orco – Guitars
Drina Hex – Vocals
Record Label: M&O Music
     


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