Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Burning Dogma - No Shores Of Hope (2016)

Italy's The Burning Dogma have been around for much longer than you may have expected, even though they've just now put out their first formal debut. The band began in 2006, released a live CD in 2010, followed by an EP in 2012 and then this recording of which I'm listening to right now. As with all albums I review, this isn't the first time I've listened to it, and I can still hear now how the whole “doom/death” moniker might need to be changed a great deal from what Metal Archives has for them. That's because ladies and germs, The Burning Dogma are so much more than a mere “doom/death” act. As a matter of fact, these Italians seem to write whatever kind of metal they want to play and care not for genre-constrictions of concerns. Melodic death metal? Check. Technical death metal? Check. Electronic atmosphere? You got it. Groove death? Yep. While the band never really jump into black metal, they still do quite a bit of genre hopping and really don't mind capping the heavy stuff at times for electronic melodies and whirls. Maybe the new branding for these guys could go something like “melodic death metal/electronic” and yeah, that also involves a female vocal approach at times. She's not credited, but she does a great job from what I've heard and will hopefully stay in the band. In any case, the frontman elicits either a throaty growl or a harsh scowl (which is expectable, but I seldom hear anyone trying a different vocal approach for this genre of music) that I feel definitely goes with the death metal aspect of the band, and certainly compliments the female vocals when they're utilized. He also uses a clean vocal sometimes, as we might expect and I've no complaints with either the harsh or clean approaches here. They're both solid and work with the material. But when you listen to No Shores Of Hope, you can't just expect a song to come off ungodly heavy at the start and to be honest, there are only seven real tracks of real metal on this thirteen track release. The rest of these pieces equal out to seven minutes of electronic interludes which some might find a little unnecessary until you find out what kind of band these guys are. Sometimes they'll throw in electronics for a second just because they can, but it certainly does work to an experimental edge. That really depends on the listener though. If you're willing to sit aside your heaviness for a few seconds while these guys play around with spatial atmospheres, then I think you're going to like what they've crafted here.

This being said, let's talk about what I haven't mentioned yet, the riffs and the playing. There are two guitarists in the band and both seem to give it their all. I'm noticing a great deal of memorable riffs and some rather light but noticeable solos. These compositions feel like the product of a great deal of time and effort, so I'm glad that they're finally getting their chance to shine on this release. When combined with the synths and electronic pieces, they seem to stand out rather well too, but these guys seem like they want to pile on the electronics and that might be too much for the death metal listener. These kinds of bands become more cult-natured than anything else and often lead listeners into confusion. We often wonder as to whether or not these guys want to be a death metal style act, or an electronic one and perhaps that will be revealed in time. They certainly have the elements of both and know when to make things menacing, as well as when to make them sound like they came out of a science fiction movie marathon. It will be a very challenging disc for the listener as it's not easily accessible, but perhaps that's a good thing. One of the lyrical topics that the band are accredited with is left wing politics (oddly enough) which I'm not completely hip to, but even being a bit of a red-pill, I'll recommend this disc. That's because I'm not here to judge bands on their political standings, I'm here to judge them on their musical performances. Saying little more, I think that metal listeners have something to look forward to from Italy's The Burning Dogma and I really hope that this won't be the last one they release. It's a strong debut, a little different (and that's okay) but strong nonetheless. There's quite a bit of promise here and I'd most certainly recommend it.

(13 Tracks, 49:00)


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