It has taken a while to get here but now inciting ears and emotions, Desolation proves the wait was more than worth it. The new EP from British electro rockers This Burning Age is the third in a four EP cycle which began last year. The three track encounter is a rousing and forcibly provocative proposition proving that whatever has happened and evolved in the time between releases, the This Burning Age songwriting and sound has potently grown through it.
The EP’s songs feel physically and emotionally fiercer than ever but equally more inventively woven from the depth of sound and flavours which have always marked the band’s sound and releases. Originally a solo project for vocalist/songwriter/guitarist Friday, the Birmingham band emerged on the live scene as a full line-up after the release of debut album A Muzzle for the Masses. Wanting to take its heart and success to live venues, Friday enlisted guitarist/keyboardist Jon Farrington-Smith, bassist Davey Bennett, and drummer Christian Jerromes (since replaced by Jack Josypenko) to the band, with the years since seeing This Burning Age play with the likes of Fearless Vampire Killers, William Control, Heights, and Hundred Reasons amongst many.
The band’s sound fuses essences of post-punk, industrial, Synth-pop and post-rock to really simplify its tapestry, with influences arising from bands such as NIN, Interpol, Rammstein, Sonic Youth, and Smashing Pumpkins. It is a fusion which potently gripped attention through the first pair of releases in the four EP project. Both Supplication and Devotion revealed an evolution in the band’s sound with a fresh thick web of textures to that within the band’s album, whilst exploring the theme of love and sex in their destructive form across their songs. That growth has continued with Desolation, its tracks inspired by a look at death and the human condition. As to the timeline of songwriting between the EPs we cannot say but there feels a new maturity to the band’s latest EP which not only seriously ignites ears but offers the potential of even bolder and deeper things ahead.
First song up on Desolation is Tatterdemalion, a quickly voracious and rousing proposal but one just as quickly slipping through an unpredictable and tempestuous landscape of intensity and creative resourcefulness. From its initial fuzzy flame of riffs, imposing rhythms stir the blood with just as potent scything grooves getting involved. The song hits a commanding stroll before relaxing into a prowling gait lit by a great steely twang of the bass. This ‘restful’ passage in turn welcomes the distinctive tones of Friday, his expression and emotion as open as ever as keys glow with simmering but bright temptation around him. Fiery expulsions of energy and heart then drive the soon to break chorus, its ferocity lingering to add richer hues to subsequent melodic and slightly restrained moments. For the main though, the track is a cauldron of inventive twists and turns, an array of styles colluding in a striking blaze which at times pokes thoughts of bands like Joy Division, in others of the likes of Pitchshifter and Smashing Pumpkins or Trent Reznor and Anti-Clone.
The outstanding start makes way for Drown In Silence, a song which leans more or certainly quicker to its industrial and electronic rock side as lively cascades of punchy rhythms and suggestive synths fall upon ears before dissipating for the emotive reflection of voice and atmospheric melodies. Calm before the storm, the track is a furnace of emotive energy and heart but again thick intense shafts which share time and the imagination with increasingly volatile and ferocious crescendos, all these keen essences uniting in an explosive and dynamic climax to another increasingly contagious persuasion.
As striking and irresistible as they are, the first two songs are slightly over shadowed by the closing Ab Aeterno (From Forever), a mesmeric introspective unveiling from Friday in voice and emotion. A crystalline twinkle of keys light a creeping mist of evocative melodies from the song’s first breath, the vocals emotionally raw as guitars and stirring beats add their weight to the unfolding intimate drama. Like a mix of Bauhaus and very early U2 embraced by the dark ethereal craft of Nine Inch Nails, the song glows with charm and shadows, eventually igniting in a searing fire of sound and suggestiveness.
It is a transfixing end to a breath-taking release from This Burning Age, the band’s finest hour without doubt though you get the feeling even now that we have seen nothing yet.
The Desolation EP is out now via 5th Day Records @ http://thisburningage.bigcartel.com/
Pete RingMaster 05/10/2015
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