Review Summary: The Browning build monumentally on their past releases, expanding both the deathcore influences and the techno/electronic influences with Burn This World. Be warned, however. If you didn't like the band or genre before, you won't like it now.
Before I begin, let me preface the review by stating that I am well aware of the extreme opinions of this band and others of its kind here on Sputnik, and I recognise the risks I am taking for providing a positive review for such an unpopular band and album. It is my personal opinion that, if you were to take away all electronic/techno influences and sounds, this album would make an excellent deathcore release. If you have a disagreement with my reasoning, or you merely don't like the band/genre, that's fine. Useless, needless attacks are not
fine. Please keep them to a minimum.
Since their self-titled LP, I feel that The Browning
has been a well-organised and well-executed combination of electronica-based music and accessible deathcore. The sound engineers knew how to balance The Browning's influences without the mix devolving into chaos, and that's quite an accomplishment considering what they had to fuse together. The result of the "techno-deathcore" experiment was a very desirable sound that was genuinely fun for some to listen to, but one of the band's major faults was that the physical guitar- and drumwork weren't very complex or difficult to execute. In essence, one could argue that the band uses its electronica-based sound to cloak the chug-chugs and bland riffs. It was a gimmick, but it paid off, at least for the better part of their career, and that is probably the reason for a lot of the band's detractors. With that in mind...
...Burn This World
ups the ante considerably from their last full-length, the self-title, in terms of technical proficiency and "getting out of their comfort zone", so-to-speak. Doing away with the old, overused chugs and riffs of past releases, Burn This World
establishes a much heavier presence. The influences on both sides of the band's spectrum have expanded exponentially - this record sounds heavier than their self-title, and the techno influences are now much, much more prominent without sacrifising the band's force. The Browning has crafted a powerful record that's chock full of meaningful lyrics, strong drum tracks (a previously-mediocre aspect of the band, in my opinion), and more technically-proficient riffage that mops the floor with their old chugging. From the get-go, Burn This World
is an onslaught of strong deathcore influences mixed with a technical sound that is a brutal assault of its own. The introductory track, "No Escape", stunned me upon my first listen as I wasn't truly sure what to expect from this album. The follow-up track, "Not Alone", serves as a more in-depth prelude to the sheer awesomeness that your ears will be introduced to at the hands of The Browning. Indeed, the band has furthered its sound even more than I predicted. A few exceptions remain - the re-recordings of "Standing On the Edge" and "Time Will Tell" don't change up the formula very much from the past records, but they sound much better and fit well with the new record. I can't, with any measure of seriousness, say that there's a bad song on this album - I enjoyed it from start to finish, which is an accomplishment in my book.
Burn This World
feels like a logical step forward from their past releases, but nothing is perfect. I feel that they should have focused more on the guitar riffage and possibly included solos where they would be most beneficial to the mix. Imagine a solo backed by drums and some techno effects. Awesome. The lyrical themes of this record are indicative, as always, of a powerful and confident view of the world the corrupt society that lies within. One of my favourite aspects of this band is that their views are intelligent, mature, and outspoken, without being excessively vulgar like other bands of their genre. They show both force and reserve with their lyrics and their sound in general, which shows that they know what they're doing. This is extremely refreshing, because as I've stated in my past reviews for deathcore (see Chelsea Grin
, Suicide Silence
), the genre is tired of all these half-assed attempts. With such a wonderful mix of powerful techno and technically-proficient deathcore, complete with mature, well-thought-out lyrics, this band is easily one of my favourites, and Burn This World
is easily one of the more enjoyable records I've had the privilege of listening to this year. The fans will be pleased, and many others will despise it. That's this band's lot in the music industry. Burn This World
isn't as good as it could have been, but it shows that the band is moving up and starting to work towards a more proficient skill level.
1.) "No Escape"
2.) "Not Alone"
5.) "Burn This World"
10.) "Tragedy of Perfection"