Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Burning Shadows - The Last One To Fall (EP) (2013)

There comes a time for every band where they must contemplate, think about, or execute, an upgrade. Instruments, recording equipment, studio alliances all must be reforged and improved if they are to advance and vanquish those who stand in their way. Burning Shadows are not different; despite the quality of their last album, "Gather, Darkness!" released a mere 16 months ago, it was time to push themselves and their recordings to new levels of clarity and depth. With some new equipment in tow, and a new process to nail down, eighteen tracks were recorded to test their mettle and deliver the first tones of the next wave of music. But with fans waiting patiently for the third album to be recorded,a  bone must be thrown to the masses in the meantime. Included on this pallet wetter are two new tracks, a classic, and a medley, all recorded live, in studio. It's a small bite, yes; but with the appetite now subdued, it is on to the next battle. A full length album to expand on what "The Last One To Fall" has already shown.

Let it be said that there is something endearing and righteous about the way this band delivers their music, and the title track here is all the evidence you would need. It is, quite literally, a battle cry. Vocalist Tom Davy belts out his lyrics in a classic style, harkening back to the golden days of metal. As his voice wails over the top of the driving instrumental, you have no choice but to join in, fist up, feet stomping beneath you to the huge riffs. What follows is a medley comprised of pieces of the "Thousand Lies" saga that made up a third of the last album. But with new found clarity and crispness, every drum hits harder, and every fill rolls smoother. It adds a new layer to the mix, a three dimensional sound that was missing from the original recording. The same could be said for "New Dawn Arise," which first appeared on the debut full length "Into The Primordial." The improvements here are thousandfold, though, with the vocal harmonies alone taking on a tremendous improvement in sound and delivery. If nothing else, it shows how far this band has come over the years, with lineup changes and shuffling doing a great deal of good. But perhaps the most impressive effort on the disc, the second new song "Southwind" is good enough to be the keystone in the next set of songs. It brings the grit back into Davy's voice, combining progressive power metal and classic metal themes into one massive undertaking. The guitar work is tight, and the rhythm section is tighter still.

Taking that first step towards higher fidelity recordings is both a sign of courage and vision. You have to be secure and confident enough in what you are doing to not only invest the money, but the emotional stake in what you are creating. Burning Shadows turn that comfort level into well crafted, accessible songs that are sure to please fans young and old. Refining their recording and production makes a noticeable difference, undoubtedly; but their songwriting is what makes every ounce of blood, sweat and tears they spent getting here worth it. No amount of money can buy equipment that would make a bad band sound good. The truth hurts, doesn't it Nickelback? But what it can do is help a good band get better. Not on the talent scale, of course, but in the sheer strength of sound. That proof is in the rerecorded pudding on this EP, when comparing old versions to new. But the true test will be the completion of the third full length album. When they press record for what will become their next effort, will all of this pay off? If "The Last One To Fall" is any indication, we are in for a wild ride.


Official Site - http://burningshadows.com/
Bandcamp - http://burningshadows.bandcamp.com/
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/bsmetal

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