The Browning: Burn This World

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The Browning: Burn This World
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The Browning: Burn This World
Deathcore, Electronica
Earache Records
October 4th, 2011
Release length: 44:26
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It seems today that adding Electronica, synths, or auto tuning to an album immediately makes it a must buy or a hit album. Sadly, these pop-culture concepts are starting to make their way into the Metal world, and quickly gaining in popularity. Recently we’ve seen the demise of many styles, such as Death ‘n Roll, the dramatic loss of interest in “NEScore,” and many more, but the aforementioned three concepts are increasing into a new fad. While some of these ideas are not terrible and do have some additional potential yet to be recognized, some bands fail miserably at making the more electronic alterations work for the rough, raw, and aggressive Metal sounds. Among the bands working with this approach is Dallas, Texas baded Deathcore act The Browning. This group takes the growing Electronica concepts and meshes it with a Deathcore approach that isn’t your traditional chugging, one-note breakdown, Brutal Death Metal inspired Deathcore act. Infact, for the most part, The Browning is one of the most impressive acts of this style out there at this time.

Many people will immediately shun The Browning due to their utilization of Electronica amidst Death Metal chords or the simple one note breakdowns, but for the most part this concept has potential in the group to become a real impressive concept in the style. The production to the album works well with this too, having a very clean sound to it, but with deep, heavy guitars that are really loud, backed by a strong bass you can kind of feel as it hammers along in support. The drums are fantastic with a nice loud volume to the cymbol crashes, the snares sound tight and natural, but the bass kicks are booming with a nice click to them. However, this instrument volume being so loud does cause issues where bass kicks will drown out the bass, or the Electronica will phase out almost everything else due to it being the loudest aspect of the recording, and can also become the most obnoxious due to this. Vocally it’s a shouting style that’s up front in the mix, but that deeper shouting approach can take on a more Agnostic Front style, but in more of a whinier, nasally manner at times, like with “Dominator.”

For the most part, the Electronica influence here is some additional Techno passages and random electronic-based notes that can sometimes sound more like a keyboard playing overly digital notes to the point of coming across like something out of an old Nintendo game. “No Escape” sets up a nice introduction to what is coming, being a shorter track acting as an introduction that sets a more ominous sound to it with a hint of upbeat Techno influence. It’s not bad, but the random passage that has no music from the instruments and becomes solely the Electronica seems to pop up everywhere, and it just doesn’t really seem to work too well with “No Escape” in the first place, being a less then impressive replacement for a simple bass drop. However, “No Alone,” which also does the same thing with the Techno-based passages but even moreso, often replacing a solo or even a breakdown with material like this, does have that old eight bit video game sound to it at times, especially at the start. When the Electronica itself starts to get richer, such as towards the end when it includes actual classical piano compositions into it for the closing breakdown, it sounds amazing and even creates an epic atmosphere to the track while also greatly masking the irritatingly bland one note breakdowns that are never that lazy and have a strong drumming support to fill in the gaps and the lack of chords during it. “Bloodlust” also does a great job wtih the opening breakdown after the starting Electronica bridge, and it really shows how well the band can work the two musical styles together to create a very rich sound that can be both intense and catchy, making one of the most enjoyable Deathcore tracks you could ever hope to hear, especially out of two clashing concepts that constantly change around throughout the track yet shift fluidly each time. Even the slower moments that again bring in a bit of a keyboard presence to the Electronica can create a very emotional atmosphere to the dismal sound that comes after the more upbeat party sound of the Techno-only passages.

The faster, more intense and energetic tracks on here are what really stand out the most with the Electronica input. Some of the slower ones that are meant to be more dismal and commanding simply just don’t work out all the time. “Living Dead” comes off having an old phonograph style filter on some keyboards that give it a melancholic, creepy atmosphere, which is amplified nicely with the Electronica that comes into play. The actual song is alright, but when it does pick up speed, the electronic sounds that come in don’t work at all, and end up filling the much slower paces horribly, taking away the crushing sound that would make this track stronger then it is. This isn’t a bad song in any aspect, it just has some things working against it is all. There’s also “Time Will Tell” which has a pretty strong Electronica rip off of “Tainted Love” present during the tracks’ Techno only bridges, and even in the main parts of the song. The song itself though, outside of that, really isn’t the most impressive, joining the ranks of “Living Dead” of being a slower song that’s alright in this case, but has it’s faults. It seems after after “Living Dead” the material does start to go downhill a bit, though not really treading into filler territory.

“Burn This World” is one of the last really engaging tracks you’ll hear for a while. The song is just full of energy and some reallys trong chords and rich Electronica that fills the music out nicely. “Forgotten” is another good track that stands out for it’s faster material and less dominating Electronica influence with sounds that actual feel suiting to the music being played, feeling more natural then the more midi file laced with white noise effects used throughout the album. But at this point, the Electronica input can feel a bit like it’s scraping the bottom of the barrel. “Dominator,” for example, will feel like you’ve heard that concepts input before on the album, taking you back to the song “Bloodlust.” But then you get “I Choose You” near the end of the album that reintroduces the rather epic atmosphere that this release had earlier on thanks to the really booming keyboards over the Electronica. This track would have made a far better closing song then “The Sadist,” but really “The Sadist” is not that bad a song to begin with, and show how well the band can take a slower paced song and combine it with the Electronica but still maintain that crushing atmosphere and even some tinges of desolation to the music that earlier slower tracks greatly lack.

The only complaint with the Electronica incorporated here, aside the volume at times, is that there are times where it just sounds like an annoying beeping noise, the kind one might hear more related to a smoke detector going off, just in different pitches. These just don’t really seem to fit the music, but when this sound has a little less white noise into it and it actual sounds like more then just white noise mixed with an alarm into a midi file, it does help make the music richer. Sadly, this kind of sound I’m speaking of is the most used and appears during pretty much every track, mostly during the main verses. When it’s mixed nicely with other richer tones, like with the title track “Burn This World,” it sounds great. But, sadly, that’s not how it’s used most of the time.

Is Burn This World a game changing album for the Deathcore universe? Not really. Is it going to drop your jaw to the ground in amazement? If you’re into Electronica-based material then yes, but more during the start and very end of the album. While this release doesn’t necessarily have filler material, it’s the electronic input that faults some of the songs that come up later that already just sound like nothing more then good Deathcore handled in a better manner then some of the leaders of the style. While the album does have it’s issues with the additional layers the Electronica influence brings in, it’s far from a bad release and many of the songs greatly benefit from the style, even showing the benefits that adding it or even just keyboards to these releases can do to fill some of the more barren or bare bones songs the band offers that many other acts compose whole albums around. The Browning definitely have a unique sound that is catchy, but still clearly in it’s infancy. With time, this band can definitely pull things around and make each track just as strong as the most impressive ones off this release. If you’re a fan of Deathcore, or even Death Metal in any sense, then The Browning is definitely a band to keep an eye on as they mature and explore this sound.

01. No Escape – 1:57
02. Not Alone – 3:38
03. Bloodlust – 4:11
04. Standing on the Edge – 2:48
05. Burn This World – 2:48
06. Ashamed – 3:30
07. Living Dead – 3:47
08. Forgotten – 3:00
09. Time Will Tell – 3:14
10. Tragedy of Perfection – 3:21
11. Dominator – 3:58
12. I Choose you – 3:15
13. The Sadist – 4:58
Overall Score: 7.5/10


Digital review copy of this release provided by Records.