Burden of Life
The Makeshift Conqueror


4.5
superb

Review

by Jared P. EMERITUS
April 18th, 2020 | 164 replies


Release Date: 03/13/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Burden of Life rise.

I was certainly a bit overwhelmed (and surprised) when I first listened to The Makeshift Conqueror, as many will no doubt be, I predict. Burden Of Life’s ambitions are very high, and on their fifth proper release, the German four-piece have gone all out, throwing all of their songwriting chops and instrumental proficiency into an epic that will not only rise above their current discography, but will also stand tall with the best of 2020’s metal still yet to come. Crazy thing is, The Makeshift Conqueror has seemingly come out of nowhere.

Few have apparently heard of this progressive melodic death metal band, but with Conqueror, that should change—one would hope. Imagine if Persefone actually had decent vocalists and cared about song structures, or if Opeth rewinded time back to the 2000s and decided to write Blind Guardian-like sing-a-longs with a faster take on their progressive death metal brand. It’s kinda like that, more or less. Conqueror is huge, progressive, melodic, expertly played, and soars with creative charisma. Best part, at least to me, is the interplay between the acoustic and distorted guitars from band members Karl Bodawe and Matthis Babl, as well as the interplay between harsh and clean vocal sections. That’s where and why the album largely succeeds: the melodic is expertly interwoven with the death. Balance, that is—natural sounding and beautifully implemented.

“The Makeshift Conqueror Pt.1” opens the album in a deceiving fashion, not so unlike how Opeth opened 2008’s Watershed with “Coil”. It’s acoustic and melodic, more or less a ballad, but it only halfway represents the rest of Conqueror yet to follow. “Giestesblitz” is where one gets a larger, more accurate picture of what’s to follow: You have angelic male choirs, acoustic and distorted guitar interplay, and soaring melodic vocal lines. Conqueror’s just getting started, though, but it’s easy to see why the band’s fans consider this a major highlight, and as a summation-like track for the album, it fits the bill.

The best is yet to come, however, and there are highlights aplenty on Conqueror. All of these tracks work together in wondrous synchronization, though, and as listens pass, a powerful album picture for this epic is seen, or heard rather. It’s technical and progressive, yeah, but it’s far from being mere wanker-y, which a lot of music by bands of this ilk can often be. The time signatures of next track “Goddess of the River” swirl around melodic vocal lines, guitar solos implemented with care and precision. The pace picks up; the pace slows down. Again, it still creates a remarkably cohesive unit. Burden of Life are not playing around here. And yes, they succeed.

The best track is easily “Regression (Goddess Return)”, which stands as Conqueror’s centerpiece and Burden of Life’s crowning achievement. Not to downplay the tracks that came before or after it, no: every epic needs a thesis, or rather, a cornerstone for foundation. “Regression” finds Mikael Stanne-like snarls leading into sweeping cleanly-sung chorus lines that build and build and, well—just build. Acoustic and noodly guitars then turn into an interplay of piano and distorted guitar leads and solos. The vocal chorus lines return, and Burden of Life ride the song out like champions.

A poignant piano ballad with a male-female duet follow in “Trust My Own Heart”, which then leads into the finale of the second part of the title track to close out the album. Conqueror is indeed epic in scope and ambition, so, of course, Burden of Life have to close this out in an epic way. Marching drums lead into a harsh section that then segues into gang shouts and choir harmonies. A bass and piano solo play underneath the vocal chorus melody here. Then, soaring vocals ride the song out near the end, which then closes with the same marching drums that started the track. It's a beautiful way to end an awe-inspiring album that has seemingly come out of nowhere. I'm giving my congratulations to these guys, and I hope more listeners get on board. Bravo, Burden of Life. You deserve recognition.



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user ratings (61)
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Observer
Emeritus
April 18th 2020


8564 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Stream for any interested: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZToBAN5l20&t=1251s



Love you guys, and I hope every one is doing okay in all this. I predict a lot of people will love/hate this album, but opinions.



Cheers.

Digging: The Trees And The Wild - Zaman, Zaman

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
April 18th 2020


12049 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"Imagine if Persefone actually had decent vocalists"



Actually hate this.

Observer
Emeritus
April 18th 2020


8564 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Yeah. I hate that band's vocals, and I know I'm not the only one.

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
April 18th 2020


12049 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

They're actually quite amazing, and I know I'm not the only one.

Observer
Emeritus
April 18th 2020


8564 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Hey man, fair enough. I know I was being controversial in some respects. No harm intended.

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
April 18th 2020


12049 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Oh for sure, I just always go to bat for my boys haha.



The review itself is great, and the recommended albums have me veeeery invested.

Observer
Emeritus
April 18th 2020


8564 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Its a surprising album. I was very impressed, even on first listen.

Ebola
April 19th 2020


3878 Comments


"Imagine if Persefone actually had decent vocalists and cared about song structures"

????????????????

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
April 19th 2020


12049 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Lol you and me both brother

Project
April 19th 2020


4441 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

okay yeah after listening to a little bit of Giesteblitz I'm pretty sure I'm going to dig this, great review

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
April 19th 2020


12049 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah it is a great review, and I'm sorry for coming across a bit strong. I MIGHT be biased in some regard, if you can believe that. I certainly think you downplayed Persfone's songwriting abilities. They do admittedly delve into wank territory and explosive, unpredictable song structures in Spiritual Migration--coincidentally my least favorite of their discog--but I still enjoy it for the same reason I enjoy Unexpect's In a Flesh Aquarium; that 'weirdness' and unbridled energy is captivating. Core and Aathma occupy the opposite end of the spectrum.



I've got this queued up so I'll be getting to it eventually. Late career Bling Guardian is rather underrated to an extent, although I think people warmed up to Time over time.

Observer
Emeritus
April 19th 2020


8564 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Oh when I write something like that im asking for trouble, and thats fine. Opinions. That's likely my favorite BG album. Sacred Worlds is likely that band's greatest song. This is kinda an amalgamation of all those recs i listed, I find.



Spoke briefly with these dudes on fb, and like most bands they are unsure of their future. They seemed to be big fans of sputnik though.

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
April 19th 2020


12049 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Will listen again. First go-through was very positive, this is a potential gem.

Observer
Emeritus
April 19th 2020


8564 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Glad you dig. Didnt mention the basswork here, but it's given its moments to shine as well, particularly in "Anthem".

parksungjoon
April 19th 2020


22205 Comments


oh no mr observer i swell with jealousy and must point out some insignificant nitpicks to discredit your ability as a writer!


jokes aside im pretty excited to check this out! surprised i've never heard of this band before.

Digging: Have Mercy (MD) - Armageddon Descends

Shadowmire
April 19th 2020


6239 Comments


loud

Itwasthatwas
April 19th 2020


2942 Comments


interesting set of recommended albums. I’ll have to check this

Observer
Emeritus
April 19th 2020


8564 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Park thanks, try my hardest not to write usually, bit rusty etc. Good eye.

parksungjoon
April 19th 2020


22205 Comments


thrashing right now but will probably check right after that m/

Observer
Emeritus
April 19th 2020


8564 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Well cool, I hope you like it. Like I said, a lot people could hate it and see this as too ott or cheesy, but I think they keep it from doing that. Glad some others seem to enjoy. Band needs more attention than they have.



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