Burner have momentum. They also have vigour. As one of London’s newest extreme metal outfits to emerge over the last eighteen months, their trajectory is enviable. They signed their first record contract while confined to lockdown and played their first show at The Black Heart at the end of last year. These four Londoners go by their first names and look like the type of people you’d meet on the famous Bermondsey beer mile, but their music is far more than meets the eye. Death metal meets hardcore might be the nearest description, but it does little justice to the true sound Burner want to achieve on their debut EP.
SBR spoke to the band members leading up to the release of A Vision of the End. Their lyrical themes have no room for ambiguity. Burner scream about “the climate crisis, authoritarianism, human greed. Things that we see reflected in the world we live in.” Nottingham death metal crew, Beyond Grace, and Milton Keynes quintet, Casket Feeder, operate on similar ground. Yet Burner cannot be pigeonholed into any current scene. Opener, ‘Ingsoc’, captures the ear-screeching sonics of a soundcheck for its intro and subsists on a solitary guitar dirge of internecine bass cackles until the cymbal accents enter like the early testing phase of an atom bomb detonation. How do they go from this to the violent technical wizardry of Dillinger Escape Plan and the baffling rhythmic precision of tech death in just under three minutes? The levels of violence on ‘Nothing but War’ belong at a Terror gig, yet guitarist, Nathan, executes his instrument like a death metal lord. Yes, it’s hardcore; yes, it’s metal. No, it’s not metalcore.
A debut EP gives as much room for experimentation as an album and might also be a better platform to bounce around left-field ideas. Burner understand this, but they know their audience. Their collective consciousness also gravitates towards six strong cuts of bruising intensity. Listen with an analytical mind and you’ll hear the different genres appear in each song. ‘Death Worship’ is as menacing as it sounds, but they use Voivod’s thrash chords and rolling basslines to achieve their aim of total annihilation. The mellifluous alt-picking riffs could grace the last Vektor album. These songs don’t mess around – the first three are in your face and out of sight with your wallet before you can raise a hand to protest. This may also explain why the band found the six minutes of the title-track the most difficult composition on the record. It survives many contortions through the meanest of powerviolence spasms to the hardest of metallic grooves and even drops the louder dynamics for a brief period of spoken word introspection. You’re not sure whether to purse your lips in contemplation or shake your fist in unison with the murderous energy at the finale, but it’s a blast.
Ending the EP with two psychopathic neo-grindcore numbers is always a good way to bow out, and ‘Siege Fire’ and the gory hardcore of ‘Rat King Crown’ do nothing to spoil the momentum. Both allow you to see a vision of the band that will confront you on stage when the time comes to take this music beyond London. The bowel-soaring bass ruptures and bludgeoning drum snares are just as ferocious as the hysterical screams. You can see why Kate of Pupil Slicer is a fan.
The Burner name appeared on the lips of the metal underground’s cheerleaders at the beginning of 2022, but you wonder if they’ll be on their t-shirts before the end of the year. This is a strong debut from a band that will hope to shape the future of English extreme metal on their next full-length record.
Release Date: 17/06/2022
Record Label: Church Road Records
Standout tracks: Nothing but War, Death Worship
Suggested Further Listening: Casket Feeder – Servants of Violence (2022), Mastiff – Leave Me the Ashes of the Earth (2021), Voivod – Synchro Anarchy (2022)