Loosely fitting into the doom/sludge/post-metal genre, San Francisco's Burnsred play music which ebbs and flows through harmonic progressions, tempo changes, and dynamic shifts, while maintaining a presence both raw and unfettered. With this self titled album, Burnsred shows us that the sludge/doom scene can still surprise us. Mixing some classically inspired melodies, elaborate song structures, and caustic tone yield a brand of metal with the Sturm und Drang of Neurosis, the morose gloom of Asunder, the visceral sludginess of Burning Witch, and the tranquil melancholy of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Burnsred have created their unique sound, showing left-field tendencies, incorporating outside influences and favoring nuanced musicianship over adherence to genre norms. The result is ornate in arrangement and composition, yet austere in thematic unity.
The first minute i started to hear this release, it instantly ingrained on me, with their heavy and melodic sludge/doom approach creating a very interesting sonic landscape, like we can hear on the opening track "Beartrap", that starts with some very distant piano notes that give the motto seconds before a giant wave of riffs splashes upon us. Although the tracks are long, they vary from 7 to 9 minutes long, it's impossible to fall into boredom, the band successfully alternates the rhythm and the course within the tracks which is something really remarkable since it's done in a very fluid yet spontaneous way.
A perfect example of that is the track "A Sentence", one of the best and most interesting tracks of this album. They could play a one hour track, making us losing track of time, as we're completely in this state of trance caused by their music. Yet another high moment of this release is the track "Standby", clearly one of my favorite tracks, showing us the astonishing ability and versatility of the band, by combining the various styles and tempos within the track, captivating and keeping the listener always on a short leash. Burnsred is one of those successful cases where i get the feeling that they function very well as a whole, every single instrument is just there, with a perfect notion of time. The vocals are also one of the most interesting highlights in the music of Burnsred, it has a fairly rough and dry tone which i like a lot, very much à la Burning Witch and not so guttural and hollow like most generic bands within the genre.
The album closes with, to me is the perfect track to end this, "Mirror", terminating this brilliant record in an apotheosis and epic way. As doomy guitar and bass weave above pummeling drums and beneath a thin layer of rasped vocals, ambient noise, and keyboards, a sound roaring from the skerries of the San Francisco metal underground... burns red. Without shadow of doubt a very addictive album. Recommended!
Feel free to check out the band's website in order to keep yourself updated. Recommended for fans of Neurosis, Battlefields, Burning Witch, etc. Buy and support good music! It only costs a mere $5.