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Heart of Darkness

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Album Review

Grindcore, metalcore, whatever you want to call it, New Jersey's Burnt by the Sun specialize in it — to the 'nth degree. The quintet's 2009 release, Heart of Darkness, typifies this, as screams, gonzo riffing, and drum bashing abound from start to finish. But when you push the boundaries to the limits like Burnt by the Sun has here, a valid question comes up: how much further can a metal band push it, without it sounding like a big noise bomb? Burnt by the Sun don't seem to care, as they go for sensory overload on such ear drum-piercing ditties as the album-opening "Inner Station," as well as "A Party to the Unsound Method" and "There Will Be Blood." Heart of Darkness serves as an audio clinic of the sound of metal being pushed to the max.

Customer Reviews

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Burnt By The Sun never fails to deliver and they have created a brutal masterpiece once again. The production on Heart of Darkness is much better than previous efforts and riffage is some of the best out there. This is one of those albums you can put on and listen to it over and over without get bored or tired! Not too many of those around these days.


Burnt By The Sun picked up where they left off in 2004 and came out with an extremely listenable, 34 minute, steamroller of sound. "Heart of Darkness" borders somewhere between groves and mental-discomfort..and I mean that in a good way. These four dudes from New Jersey teamed with Eric Rachel and set out to make the self-proclaimed "heaviest record of all time" & regardless if that, by opinion, has been achieved, the result was 10 tracks of metallic brutality coupled with a devastating hardcore mentality... ain't no B.S. metalcore.

All of the classic BBTS obscure riffs and patterns can be found in "Heart of Darkness". There is a tasteful amount of reliance on those BBTS signature octave riffs, which are saved for only the neck crushing parts. Some of the riffs are so heavy they might as well be beating the guitar with a clinched fist..not to mention the wall of bass (again, I mean all of this as a compliment). The most utterly punishing moment on this entire record can be found on track 7, "Rust/Future Primitive" starting at the 2 minute mark. Good luck not banging your head on the dashboard.

In addition to Witte's superior, machine-like, drumming assault, few vocalists achieve the genuine, sustained angst that Mike Olender offers up: a fearsome, from the gut, scream. I wish all modern hardcore vocalist had this amount of real passion and intelligence. Sadly, most of them just breath into the mic heavy and talk about their "problems" like it's an aim conversation with their girlfriend.

As far as the song writing and structures go, they are tight and superb. My only complaint, would be that they are too precise... with similar time signatures and arrangements. Almost, as if, too much time was spent writing alone in solitude instead of with an entire band.. which causes the songs not to sound quite as iconic & distinct as "soundtrack" or "perfect enemy". Listen after listen, though, I am pulling each song aside and appreciating it on its own even more. As an avid BBTS fan, the songs, to me, become slightly predictable and almost catchy... but that's neither a good or bad thing in this case... It's groovy! Heart of Darkness is Burnt By The Sun at their most refined, polished state.

All criticisms aside, this is one of the most impressive records in heavy music of the last decade. Im glad this band had more to say. Most bands break up over some trivia B.S. or because their equipment got stolen, but Burnt By The Sun found the perfect way to say farewell.


Freaking awesome!

Another heavy and angry release from Burnt By The Sun!!! My faves are Great American Dream Machine and The Wolves Are Running. Highly advised to get it!!!


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

New Jersey's Burnt by the Sun was formed in November 1999 by ex-Human Remains drummer David Witte and guitarist John Adubato. Vocalist Michael Olender and bassist Ted Patterson joined soon after, and a self-titled EP brought them to the attention of metal-specialized Relapse Records. Impressed by the band's inventive, often humorous take on post-hardcore extreme metal, Relapse quickly signed the band and their full-length...
Full Bio
Heart of Darkness, Burnt By the Sun
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  • $9.90
  • Genres: Rock, Music, Metal
  • Released: Aug 18, 2009

Customer Ratings