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Burnt By The Sun Soundtrack To The Personal Revolution

By Peter Atkinson, Contributor
Thursday, January 31, 2002 @ 2:08 PM


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Remember what it was like when you first heard Slayer’s Reign In Blood -- the sheer, brutal exhilaration you felt as it ripped your head off at 300 miles an hour? Well that’s kinda what it’s like hearing the debut from this New Jersey quintet. Though Burnt By The Sun is an entirely different animal than Slayer, Soundtrack nevertheless delivers the same sense of primal ferocity and raw, unrelenting power that’ll leave you feeling beaten and breathless, but wanting more.

The latest in an inspired crop of free-form, anything goes hardcore/death metal/etc. groups - the best known of which is Dillinger Escape Plan - Burnt By The Sun is the most fearsome and vicious one yet. Eschewing the Mr. Bungle-esque jazz-from-hell freak outs others in their ilk tend to be a bit too in love with, BBTS meld the precision brutality of Morbid Angel, the jaw-busting crunch of Pantera and the hardcore intensity of, say, Hatebreed into a turbulent cacophony that succeeds where Slipknot fails. There’s no need to play dress up, throw temper tantrums and swear like a Teamster with Tourette’s syndrome when the sheer force and menace of your music speaks for itself like it does here.

Guitarists John Adubato and Chris Rascio’s bob, weave and throw haymakers like a heavyweight fighters on Soundtrack. They show remarkable speed, dexterity and smarts as they morph from synchronized thrash fury to chugging hardcore riffs to booming power chords, often within the space of a few bars on tracks like “Dracula With Glasses” and “Human I Steamroller.” Props, too, go to the rhythm section of Ted Patterson and David Witte, who deftly direct the ever-shifting tempos and keep some measure of control on things so it doesn’t all end up sounding like so much noise.

Though he’s usually shouting his damn head off, singer Michael Olender adds an unusually wry, welcome wit to the mix with nutty song titles like “Shooter McGavin,” “Don Knotts” and “Soundtrack to the Worst Movie Ever” that make the often bitter medicine of his scathing lyrics go down a bit easier. It’s hard not to smile a little during a song called “Dow Jones and the Temple of Doom” even as Olender’s excoriating the consumerism most of us are guilty of in the first place.

Burnt By The Sun deliver the kick in the ass hard music fans numbed by years of cathartic Korn clones and nu metal whiners so desperately need right now. Utterly uncompromising, refreshingly unpretentious and bristling with conviction, Soundtrack to the Personal Revolution is a revelation and hopefully just the start of what could be something very special.

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