Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Burning Season - Onward Anthem CD Review

This past weekend, I had some of the guys over to my place to hang out since we didn't have anything better to do. While everyone was over, the weather managed to keep us inside as it started raining shortly after everyone got over. Being bored out of our minds, we decided to watch a movie and order some pizza. Before I could call in our order, however, we had to decide what the heck it was we wanted, which eventually turned out to be a sausage & pepperoni pizza, a bacon pizza, a taco pizza, and an olive & mushrooms pizza. As we were watching the movie and chomping away on our food I started thinking about all of the work we put into deciding what we wanted on our respective pizzas. In the end, we still got four pizzas, each slightly different than the other, but essentially were all pizza and anyone who likes pizza would probably eat any of the four regardless of topping. If you didn’t like pizza, however, you wouldn’t want any of them. And with that realization, we can easily identify metalcore as music’s proverbial pizza. There’s a ton of different kinds of metalcore, but in the end it’s all pretty much the same thing.

This then brings us to our pizza du jour today, The Burning Season's sophomore effort, Onward Anthem. Falling smack dab into the middle of the melodic metalcore genre, Onward Anthem is everything a fan of the subgenre could want and nothing more. Depending upon your appetite for a genre already well paved and worn over by the likes of Evergreen Terrace, Beloved, and so many, many others, you may or may not be able to stomach this album.

It’s extremely hard to review bands in this genre without making comparisons to their peers since there is so little differentiation between them all and the slight derivations each band make from the general genre template are just that -- slight. From a song structure point of view, it is very easy to hear early From Autumn to Ashes throughout the disc and most notably on tracks such as “Morse Code Romance” and “Pick Up the Pieces”. There is not as much layering of melodic and abrasive vocals as many current bands use; but instead The Burning Season utilize a segregation of song pieces, at times giving the band an unwanted split personality. This is not necessarily bad at all times since the whole “I’ll scream the same lyrics you’re singing at the exact same time” tactic ran its course a long time ago, but sometimes it does leave the songs lacking in the cohesion department. When the band sticks to just their abrasive nature, however, such as on “Dear Seductress”, they come at you firing on all cylinders.

Again, it all comes down to how much you can stomach metalcore in general, and within that broadly scoped genre, how much you enjoy your metalcore pizza topped with a few melodic vocals and the occasional guitar flairs in between breakdowns and bridges. I know that some people, no matter how often they have it, will never ever get sick of eating pizza, and it is the music listening equivalent of those people that the continual glut of metalcore releases is no doubt geared towards. If there’s people out there to keep picking up these discs off of the shelves of Hot Topic and Best Buy, then there’s no reason that labels shouldn’t keep releasing CDs from bands such as The Burning Season. Eventually, though, you have to think that there will just be too much of it out there.

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