Released: 2006, Prosthetic Records
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
Is this another metallic hardcore release or something a little deeper?
This was the question I asked myself after checking out the website and press profile of Massachusetts’ metalcore practitioners Burn In Silence, however after one spin of their Ken Susi (Unearth)-produced debut, ANGEL MAKER, my respect for them quickly increased. My initial reaction was to write this off as yet another metalcore CD, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes, the band does dabble in breakdowns, Pantera-infused riffs and vocal melodies that would not be out of place on a Bleeding Through album but behind all that is a brutality to the riffs and tinkly keyboards usually reserved for the coldest of black metal releases. Never does this escalate to overwrought Dimmu Borgir/Cradle of Filth dependence, either; rather they plink away in the background, lending a subdued but haunting feel to the musical landscape. Mike Casavant and Alan Glassman lay down some technical riffing and finger-tapping that, while not exactly novel, still impresses with its overall aptitude. Darren Cesca’s thunderous double bass is also used effectively here and is not used a crutch throughout the CD. Vocalist Chris Harnell is the one generic component of Burn In Silence and that is not necessarily his fault. This type of music dictates a certain style and Harnell nails it, but as far as extending his vocals beyond the growl/clean vocal spectrum, forget it. There is certainly more to Burn In Silence than just another group of hardcore kids who studied up on their FAR BEYOND DRIVEN album and then latched on to the metalcore bandwagon.
Chris Harnell’s dextrous vocal cords first get a workout on opening track, “Lines From An Epitaph.” Dripping with rage in the verses, Harnell’s growls lead into a harmonious clean vocal chorus that has a dark, sinister feel to it—something similar to Tony Jelencovich’s work in Angel Blake. Fans of post-NATURAL BORN CHAOS Soilwork will dig “Rebirth” as Harnell’s growls and clean vocal styles are not unlike Bjorn “Speed” Strid’s and the guitar interplay and subtle keyboard use could also be pulled straight from FIGURE NUMBER FIVE or STABBING THE DRAMA. “The Age In Which Tomorrow Brings” is Pantera-meets-Bleeding Through-by-way-of-Fear Factory in its combination of soaring vocals in the chorus and roaring verses backed by soaring keyboard melodies. “Embrace The Plague” features some killer guitarwork from Casavant and Glassman and Cesca is nothing short of a double-bass machine. The title track is a behemoth that churns along with some choppy, discordant riffs before a roaring breakdown and blasting middle section reverts back to the flailing, almost Dillinger Escape Plan-like riffage. Album closer “World of Regret” leaves no stone unturned, wrapping up everything Burn In Silence does in one neck-snapping, head-bobbing, pit-inducing, blast-beating whirlwind of a song.
Without naming names (it would be a LOOOOOOOOOOOONG list), Burn In Silence is one step ahead of the endless metalcore pack with ANGEL MAKER. The clean vocals are a bit overdone and behind the brutality, there is certainly a direct goal for penning hook-filled choruses to charm the young ‘uns but these guys have clearly gone out of their way to add a little flair that separates them from the status quo. It wouldn’t hurt the band to shoot for a little more originality because stripping away the keyboards wouldn’t make them all that dissimilar from many other metalcore bands, but for a debut, ANGEL MAKER is a solid slice of metal that will appeal to fans of the genre. Burn In Silence is American, young and their look will most likely force people to form a judgment upon them before even hearing a note (much like I did), however venturing into their debut CD with an open mind will bring a few people on board and convert many more to their cause.
KILLER KUTS: “Lines From An Epitaph,” “Rebirth,” “The Age In Which Tomorrow Brings,” “Embrace The Plague,” “Angel Maker,” “World of Regret”