Burden Of Grief - Follow the Flames
Massacre Records
Modern Gothenburg Melodeath
11 songs (42:51)
Release year: 2010
Burden Of Grief, Massacre Records
Reviewed by Vrechek

Allow me to quote from the promotional material for this album:

"At first glance you might call it thrash metal."

Actually at first glance I'd call it stale Gothenburg Melodeath, but that'd be a little unfair to Burden of Grief. Make no mistake, I really quite disliked Follow the Flames, however there are a good number of good bits in it. The problem is that the bad bits outweigh the good, such that when taken as a whole this is a bitter pill to swallow.

First off, let me get my biggest complaint out of the way. The vocals are terrible. Really really godawful Metalcore-tinged screams crossed with a "Thrashy" shout. I've tried to see some redeeming value in this "singing" and I just can't. This is coming from someone who thinks Varg's screeches pre-Belus were great, and yet I still grind my teeth whenever this obnoxious, grating, and whiny screaming meets my ears. It doesn't help that the band had the bright idea to record a bunch of covers of non-Extreme Metal songs for a bonus disc, vocally butchering such classics as Aces High and Valhalla. If these covers were a part of the actual album I'd be hard pressed to score it higher than about a 10, that's how insulted I am (even though the guitars, drums, bass and all that nonsense is performed perfectly adequately).

As for the rest of the music, it typically indulges in the usual checklist of Modern Gothenburg cliches, although I would have killed to have some whiny pop choruses to distract from the usual monotonous screaming. Guitars tend to do the almost cute attempts at Iron Maiden worship while still trying to be "Heavy". However, and this is where my almost uniform bitching at the album starts to hit a wall, as there is some legitimately great guitar/bass/drumwork to be found on Follow the Flames. Granted, it's not nearly enough to salvage my opinion of the band and just about all of the good parts are still derivative and done to death, but it's still hard to deny their sheer aurul delight.

For one thing, most of the solos here are very good. They're not too sugary sweet as is the case with the vast majority of solos (and riffs) of Gothenburg Melodeath, and while by no means simple are not wanky enough to distract from their visceral emotional power. I cite the latter half of Born in Fire for a good example of some truly kickass shredding, with the added benefit of having no vocals to ruin the experience. Actually, for a good chunk of the album the best parts are when the vocals don't butt in. Huh, imagine that. The Arms Of Death is another good song save for the chorus which grates on my nerves a bit (as do most of the choruses on Follow the Flames), as well as the cringe-inducing scream at the beginning.

Each song tends to have little glimpses, shadows, and hints at how incredibly fucking awesome this band could be if they weren't so concerned with conforming to their sub-genre's stereotypes. For every uninspired, ultramelodic riff there's a grinding, downtuned, blasty monster lurking just around the corner, even if itss time in the spotlight is depressingly short. The guitar tone isn't even that shabby; hell, the instrumental elements of this band could probably make a great Death Metal album if they put their minds to it.

Alas, Burden of Grief touches too many of my nerves to give me a wholly positive experience, though I will acknowledge that roughly half of the album is superior to the crap that is shoved out weekly under the misleading tag of "Melodic Death Metal". If you hear a snippet of this band and aren't put off by the vocals or slick and declawed melodic riffs, Follow the Flames may be worth your time. For those looking for something truly different or outstanding in the realm of Gothenburg Melodeath however, I recommend you keep on looking.

Killing Songs :
Each has its good and its bad
Vrechek quoted 50 / 100
Other albums by Burden Of Grief that we have reviewed:
Burden Of Grief - Death End Road reviewed by Thomas and quoted 69 / 100
Burden Of Grief - On Darker Trails reviewed by Danny and quoted 72 / 100
0 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are 0 replies to this review. Last one on Mon Oct 04, 2010 8:56 pm
View and Post comments