Some may know Suleiman Ali through his work on this website, picking apart loved and not-so-loved records for the pleasure of readers everywhere and with the 7th release from his solo project, Burzukh, he is set to grace your ears as he has your eyes for some time.
Genre-mixing and -hopping is something very familiar to all fans of Avant-Garde Metal and this is something which Burzukh takes very much in its stride, mixing styles seamlessly with very convincing experimentation. Influences are thick and numerous in this release, Black, Death, Doom, Gothic and Industrial metal are fused into a very interesting sound, alongside Psychedelic, Prog Rock and Electronic sounds, keeping everything interesting, but always smooth.
Vocals are a mixture between a dissonant croon (think Ved Buens Ende/Virus) and bloodthirsty Black Metal shrieks. They add an extra feeling of unease to the already dark atmosphere and fit very well alongside the rest of the music.
Drums are courtesy of a programmed drum machine. It is obvious to any seasoned listener that this is the case, the sound is not particularly organic, but the content more than makes up for this, playing some very Prog Rock-ish rhythms in addition to the expected blast beats and suchlike, making the drums keep your attention even though you know in your mind that it’s just a bunch of ones and zeros working together.
Keyboards are used often here. No, not the sit/stand-and-play-really-fast-scales stuff found in most Power Metal nowadays, the keyboards here are mostly either used for ambience or as stabby, chordal accompaniment.
Guitars play mostly dissonant tremolo-picked riffs and some ugly-sounding discords with some other very interesting ideas scattered around, such as the acoustic playing in the intro to “Gates and Contrasts” (probably the most apt name for a song ever). Some of the playing sounds slightly off-time, but I get the feeling that this is intended as it just adds more to the feeling of the music. The tone is very dirty and unforgiving, some notes are hard to make out, but the rhythms cut through nicely.
This brings me onto the main gripe about the album, the production. The instruments are mixed well, but the instrument tones are all very muddy and the drums sound inorganic. These may seem like fair comments to make, but the validity is wiped away due to this being recorded (I think) on Suleiman’s laptop, so for the equipment available, he’s done a pretty damn good job.
Overall, this is a very strong release if you can look past the inevitable production problems. The genre-mixing is convincing and unlike many bands who are attempting it nowadays, it doesn’t sound at all forced. If you are looking for some gimmicky, clear-sounding “Experimental” Metal, then steer well clear, but if you like your music down and dirty with some pure intelligence and interesting ideas, then go here and download the album now! (Oh, did I not mention, it’s also free!)
Avantgenre: A-bit-of-everything Metal
Official site: http://www.geocities.com/MuslimPunk/Burzukh.html
Review online since: 14.06.2009 / 23:26:19
01 – Cold Rage