Review Summary: An album by a band that understands what "Deathcore" should mean in the first place.
What has always baffled me is the fact that the genre of deathcore came to be defined by the extensive use of chug chug breakdowns, while neither death metal nor hardcore punk rely on them to any noticeable degree. Since deathcore, as the name suggests, should be an amalgamation of the two genres, what it actually sounds like feels kinda as though one received purple from mixing blue and yellow, instead of the expected green. But one day this one band came into the picture, and they were called Burning Skies
Now, you should check this band, if only for the curiosity factor of it managing to receive the green from mixing blue and yellow. Yes, "Desolation" very likely isn't quite like any deathcore album you've heard so far. To draw a good comparison, one should reminesce of the early metalcore bands, whose sound was exactly what the name suggested - hardcore punk with metal riffs/metal with hardcore punk drumming. Converge and Integrity are probably the most celebrated examples these days. Now one should wonder why nobody ever tried the same formula in deathcore, instead opting for death metal with an excess of chugged breakdowns? Well, Burning Skies have answered this question with their work, and the album "Desolation" gives a demonstration of what deathcore strictly adherent to the intuitive definition should be.
This album has only a few chug-happy breakdowns. And I mean a few, they can be counted on the fingers of a single hand. Instead the band goes for an amalgamation of emotional and haunting hardcore punk riffs, much like those played by Tragedy, with decent technicality and death metal brutality of Cannibal Corpse or Deicide and the grooviness of Fear Factory. The mix works seamlessly, blending surprisingly well into a sound that one can't help but describe as "what Deathcore should have been in the first place". To complete the experience, the defining hardcore punk drumbeat is prevalent throughout the album, a trait all but absent in mainstream deathcore.
Vocal-wise, the singer does an amazing job, utilizing a whole plethora of styles, many of them in a single song: a growl (a deathcore-flavored one, vide Veil of Maya), a bro scream reminescent of Alex Erian of Despised Icon, typical but well executed hardcore punk screaming, and even demented shouting akin to Dwid van Hellion of Integrity and a teeny weeny bit of guttural gargles like those used by the vocalist of Cattle Decapitation. This adds really much to the hardcore punk aspect of the record.
The songs themselves are rather short, with many around 3 minutes long, or even less. Only two tracks exceed 4 minutes of length, making the album easy to listen to should one find it tiresome. But that is doubtful, as anyone who appreciates both hardcore punk and death metal will like this album. Because it's 50/50 death metal and hardcore punk. It's Deathcore.