Burden - 'A Hole In The Shell' (Van Records) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Jim Rowland   
Monday, 25 April 2011 05:01

BurdenIf, like Burden, you specialise in a heady mix of metal, doom and stoner, and have just released your latest album, what better way to celebrate than by landing the support slot on the current Kyuss Lives! European tour - one of the hottest tickets around. Things have certainly started well for Burden, so is 'A Hole In The Shell' good enough to capitalise on the exposure they're currently enjoying?


Opener 'Bless The Broken', along with the likes of 'Stampede', 'The Fool' and 'Man Of No Account' are all good solid slices of very heavy, dark Metal. The riffs are big, the choruses are strong and the Metal is heavy. And heavy in the true sense of the word. There's no 100 miles an hour thrashing going on here - it's slow, grinding heaviness in the true Sabbath tradition. The brilliantly entitled 'The Slug. The Drag. The Misery' and 'Process (Into The Nothing)' both particularly display traits of that Iommi style heavy riffery.


It's when Burden push the boundaries a little further than traditional Metal structures that this album really works for me. 'Done With Denial' has twists and turns that are complemented by a strong and original vocal melody, and 'Black Room', one of the album's highlights, has a killer progressive riff that wouldn't be out of place in the Opeth canon. 'About The Veil and The Wound' and the epic 12 minute album finale 'Conflict', are both haunting, atmospheric, percussive pieces with progressive leanings bringing Tool to mind.


'A Hole In The Shell' is a very good debut that will enhance Burden's rising profile. Extremely heavy and inventive in places, it's a dark album for sure, there's nothing very cheerful in Burden's sound. Phil Anselmo's Down certainly spring to mind as a reference point, as do Black Label Society in their heavier moments.


Vinyl junkies will be pleased to note that the vinyl edition has three bonus tracks not available on the CD issue. Well worth it.