The World Is Ours
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2. Carlito's Way
3. Donnie Brasco
4. Righteous Kill
8. Any Given Sunday
9. Devil's Advocate
10. City Hall
This is easily one of the strongest debut albums of the year so far. Upon A Burning Body have seamlessly melded a number of styles together to create a perfect mix of modern metal that is as heavy as it is catchy. Haters have chosen to call them generic and target their'corny lyrics'... they obviously have no fucking clue what 'tongue-in-cheek' is and as far as generic goes, I guess if it doesn't have a thousand breakdowns, sweeps and 808's per song or the band isn't sucking Meshuggah's proverbial cock for the millionth time, then it's 'Generic'. Go somewhere with your bullshit scenecore rulebook! This is modern fucking METAL!
Taking their Pantera influence and carefully fusing it with elements of hardcore, metalcore, swedish melodic death metal and even deathcore does well to set them apart from their peers. Much like label mates Conducting From The Grave, Upon A Burning Body are actually capable of crafting an entire album's worth of solid metal without resorting to 'safe bet' trends. Sure you might find a tiny element of meshugganic syncopation throughout the course of the album much in the same way that you might find a breakdown, a sweep or a few gang shouts. But none of it is abused or relied on to make the album what it is. This band is better than that.
Some of the lyrical content is without question laughable at times, but it's quite obvious that it was intentionally done. Without becoming a parody of metal or themselves for that matter (like some bands have), Upon A Burning Body don't take themselves seriously 110% of the time and songs like 'Intermission' prove that. Anyone that can take lyrics from 80's songs and incorporate them into a song as heavy as 'Intermission' on top of making the song fit in with the overall vibe of the album itself deserves any and all praise and credit that comes their way. They could have played it safe and just done a shitty pop cover instead...
'City Hall' is without question the stand out track on the album, but not necessarily because it's the best of the bunch. It's simply that it's a somewhat unexpected change of pace, with the band switching gears and taking on a more melodicore approach. There's more clean singing on this track and vocalist Danny Leal delivers more of a 'hardcore sermon' type of performance. The song also has more straightforward lead work than any of the other tracks on the album, which is fucking awesome to finally see that showcased. All things considered, City Hall doesn't necessarily fit right in with the rest of the material on the album, but it's still a solid song that easily stands on it's own and is a great way to close out the album.
The only drawbacks to this album: Running Time of 33 minutes and the fact that their primo Pantera cover isn't on here. It would have served as the perfect bonus track.
BOTTOM LINE: Trends have come and gone and in the last decade alone we've watched Nu Metal, Metalcore and now Deathcore all come in strong and then die out because of oversaturation and repetition. A handful of bands get huge playing a certain style and then EVERYBODY wants to try their hand at it without bringing anything original or unique to the table, and they end up drowning in the sea of mediocrity that the sub-genre becomes. All the while, they avoid the 'Metal' tag like the plague, because it's not popular. Then the trend dies and bands are tripping over each other trying to reinvent themselves as 'Metal' bands in order to survive, because let's face it... Metal hasn't survived for over 35 years because it sucks. It was never cool or trendy and it never will be because it doesn't need to be. It may have to go back underground at times, but no matter what it continues to thrive while other styles fail. Unlike scenefans, Metal fans are loyal. Period.
So here's to hoping that UABB realizes such things and aren't against being called a 'Metal' band, because despite what haters and nay sayers may think, Upon A Burning Body are just that. Are there 'trend' elements in their music? Of course there are. Influence is inevitable though, and without incorporating at least a few elements of modern extreme music into your sound you're going to sound extremely dated (like all the shitty retro thrash bands), and no band that's worth a damn wants to sound like they just stepped out of 1986. Not even the best bands from that era (Testament, Megadeth) sound like that. Hopefully UABB maintains their course and makes an even more Metal album on their next release. Maybe next time they can also come with more than 33 minutes of material and make a genuine full length instead of a 35 minutes or less extended EP that seems to be the standard right now.