Burning Love - Rotten Thing To Say (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Burning Love

Rotten Thing To Say (2012)

Southern Lord

There are a lot of different criteria to take into account when assessing an album's success: Artistic merit and intent, originality, its place among its contemporaries and so on. Some of these are easier to gauge than others, depending on the album, but one of the most immediately recognizable among them is the fun factor: Do the band sound like they're having fun? As a listener, would I want to play in this band?

Fun is subjective, of course, but in this case it's the kind of assessment normally reserved for bands like Burning Love and albums like Rotten Thing To Say--music that's heavy on horror imagery as allegory and heavier on punishing riffs.

To their credit, Burning Love explore a lot of different beats within the confines of what's typically an insurmountable genre constraint: songs like "No Love" and "Superstitious Friend" reside on the more punk side of things, with simplistic guitar parts and quick drumming; "Karla" and "The Body" explore the band's heavier tendencies, with mid-tempo structures undercut by guitar solos; "Tremors" is a blistering 38 seconds of hardcore. It's all anchored by the impressively menacing growl of vocalist Chris Colohan, a guy with an onstage persona that fits this band's aesthetic like a glove.

Rotten Thing To Say also contains some of the flat-out best rock riffs cut to tape in 2012 in "Made Out Of Apes" (maybe the best song title, too), "Broken Glass" and "Hateful Comforts." This is where Burning Love really sound like they're having fun, and as a listener it's palpable and oddly infectious. Giving the album an intro, outro and instrumental interlude in the middle ("1231") is a nice touch as well, showing the band's respect for the format.

It's hard to meld punk, hardcore and metal tendencies into something cohesive--usually the band ends up great at one of them and subpar at the other two. That's not the case here. Burning Love are firing on all cylinders on Rotten Thing To Say. Get your air guitar poses ready.