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Indy band\'s new release an assault on the senses


By Brett Wallace




Burn It Down
Let the Dead Bury the Dead
Escape Artist Records

The band has also put out its first full-length release, Let the Dead Bury the Dead, on Escape Artist Records. Rumored to be the first concept album in the history of hardcore, Let the Dead Bury the Dead is simply a no-holds-barred assault on the senses. Although Burn it Down's earlier work, such as the Eat Sleep Mate Defend EP and its split disc with Chicago hardcore legends Racetraitor, is undoubtedly hardcore, the new album brings in a wide and unrestricted variety of influences, drawing on everything from classic metal to soft vocal melodies. This doesn't stop the disc from being almost an hour of pure aggression. While all the members successfully play their respective roles in Burn it Down, the true strength of the band comes from guitarist John Zeps, whose playing draws on everything from screaming metal leads to down-picking, crushing hardcore riffs. Simultaneously providing melody and strength, Zeps is the force that ties vocalist Ryan Downey's passionate leads to the rock-hard rhythm section of bassist Jason McCash and drummer Brian "Bob" Fouts. This basic re-examination of the basic roles of musicians in a hardcore quartet allows Burn it Down to expand on the definitions of its individuals without losing the bare essentials of rhythm, syncopation or "heaviness." And while songs like "Ten Percent of the Law," which opens the disc, provide a throwback to the earlier, more "hardcore" days of Burn it Down, tracks like the cover of the Rolling Stones' "Paint it Black" and the haunting, untitled 12th track show a delicate and sensible side of the band many hardcore die-hards might not take to well. But the truth of the matter is that Let the Dead Bury the Dead is one of the best hardcore releases of the year. The only thing left to debate is whether or not it really is a hardcore album.

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