Unlike most of their counterparts, Burnt by the Sun combined extreme music with extreme politics. This was particularly welcome in the Bush 2 era, when protest of any sort stood tantamount to treason. Though many missed the violent velocities of drummer Dave Witte’s prior acts Discordance Axis and Human Remains, BBTS executed complex songs doused in former Endeavor vocalist Mike Olender’s unflinching political diatribes.
Six years following The Perfect Is the Enemy of the Good, BBTS issue their final communiqué. For having seldom performed live in that time lag, the group sounds remarkably taut. Every song exudes technical prowess and unrelenting aggression. Guitarists John Adubato, Nick Hale, and bassist Ted Patterson peel off riffs of a weightlifter’s size and a gymnast’s dexterity. Olender delivers rabid vocal performances throughout. Clearly the alleged hope of the new U.S. presidency has not quelled his critiques. His sentiments ring loud and clear in songs with titles like “A Party to the Unsound Method,” “Goliath,” and “There Will Be Blood.”
Heart of Darkness (Relapse, 2009) is a fitting finale. We can only hope that a band as adept at musical combat and lyrical wisdom will arise to carry the torch.
Burnt by the Sun will play their only US live date this year on October 2 at NYC’s Cake Shop. See details here.