Siege Fire – Exclusive interview with Burner

Burner (Left-to-right): Harry (vocals), Finn (bass), Hugo (drums), Nathan (guitar).

Sammy Urwin and Justine Jones might be the face of English metallic hardcore titans, Employed to Serve, but they’re also the curators of the UK underground and scouts of the finest metal and darkest alternative music from Sweden to the USA. As founders of Church Road Records, the Woking couple have introduced us to the likes of Epiphanic Truth, Inhuman Nature and Blodet over the last eighteen months and grabbed the attention of Kerrang! and Metal Hammer with the emergence of Heriot and Tuskar. Now, South London quartet, Burner, are the next act ready to rip through the scene like a ricochet from a jet propeller.

Burner take inspiration from the ferocity of hardcore and the venomous bite of death metal. They don’t play deathcore. One listen to their upcoming EP, Vision of the End, will convince you that the future of English extreme metal has an exciting chapter waiting to be written. Like Casket Feeder, this band could take the stage next to Hate Eternal, Hate or Hatebreed and appeal to the audience of all three. Their debut EP has some treasures in store for the discerning listener. ‘Death Worship’ is the closest you’ll get to reliving the legendary co-headline tour of Voivod and Revocation from 2019. ‘Rat King’ blasts like Venom Prison at their most vitriolic.

It’s hard to believe the band formed during the Covid-19 lockdown and composed most of their songs via filesharing and group chat. Fast-forward to the end of 2021 and they found themselves supporting Celestial Sanctuary at the legendary Black Heart in Camden. Things look rosy with Metal Hammer citing them as one of the twelve bands to watch in 2022.

We spoke to the members of Burner to learn more about the band’s origins and their goals for 2022.

Let’s start with the formation of the band. How did you all meet?

Harry (vocals): It started out with Hugo (drums) and I meeting back in 2018, with Nathan (guitar) joining in 2019. When we felt ready to record, we looked for a bassist and found Finn, but that was a week before the first Covid lockdown.

Finn (bassist): Yeah, we spent a year and a half getting to know one another over WhatsApp.

Nathan (guitar): We got to know each other more when we went to record the following year.

Your music is ferocious. Cast your mind back and describe Burner’s first gig.

Hugo (drums): We had to cancel our first gig because I got Covid, but Bristol was our first show. The crack was ninety. After two years of not being able to play music, it was a load of fun.

Finn: It was an enthusiastic crowd. The two-steppers showed up.

Nathan: Yeah, the spin kickers were out in force!

Who is the most competent musician in the band and why?

Harry: Nathan

Nathan: Finn

Finn: Hugo

Hugo: Harry

(Laugh as a group)

Harry: We all put the effort in and share the weight.

What are the three musical artists you can all agree on as favourites of the band?

1. The Burning Wind

2. Helpless

3. Mico (please, come to the UK)

Let’s talk about your upcoming EP, A Vision of the End. Which of these six songs was the most difficult to write and record?

Harry: ‘A Vision of The End’, the title track, was probably the most tricky. We didn’t find anything particularly hard to deal with though.

Finn: Yeah, we were trying to encompass all our sounds in that one song.

What are the lyrical themes of your debut EP?

Harry: The climate crisis, authoritarianism, human greed. Things that we see reflected in the world we live in. None of it is joyous, but it’s real. It’s darker, but there are flickers of optimism. The album has a lot more hope in it, but it’s just as angry.

How much does your everyday environment of South London influence your art?

Nathan: I’m not sure it does, much! We all generally like the areas we live in. There’s a lot of cultures intermeshing, so it’s easy to be inspired.

Finn: Yeah, plenty of music and art. Lots to draw from.

Which media platform (inc. social media and streaming sites) has the been the most helpful in your band’s career so far?

Nathan: Instagram and Spotify, for sure. Spotify gives us a decent grasp of the numbers, and Instagram is great for connecting with new bands and discovering new music.

Finn: Yeah, we’ve been included on some wicked playlists, as well. Very grateful for that!

Harry: Church Road Records have their own Discord server too, so we chat to a lot of likeminded people quite regularly through there.

How advanced are writing sessions for a full-length album?

Hugo: The main framework of every song is done. We’re working on perfecting the tracks from this point on out. We’re hitting the studio in July/August, so we’ll be recording pretty soon.

What are the band’s goals for 2022?

Nathan: Release a good album, hopefully play some cool tours with some sick bands, and get on some festivals, hopefully?

Harry: Aye, lots to look forward to!

*** Burner release their A Vision of the End EP via Church Road Records on 17 June 2022. You can pre-order the CD and cassette on Bandcamp here.