Burnchurch - Burnchurch (Cover Artwork)


Burnchurch (2015)

Contraszt! Records

If the name Burnchurch conjured up images of pissed off Norwegians in corpsepaint and black leather pants, you couldn't be further off the mark. For their first official release, Irish punks Burnchurch seem keen to express their righteous fury. Comprised of various members who've played in former hardcore bands throughout Dublin for the past few years, Burnchurch are a tight little unit who know how to play to their strengths. Their debut album Burnchurch features ten tracks of the most bitter, twisted crust punk you'll probably hear all year.

"Greater Than Fear" kicks off the album in fine style with some atonal riffs, before switching into a fast paced d-beat, while lead singer Clodagh switches between screaming like a mental patient, before dropping it down a notch into a deathcore-esque growl. "Choose Your Adventure" is easily the standout track, a ripping blast of angry hardcore fury, with a furious drumbeat reminiscent of early Discharge or Doom. The guitarist definitely knows his way around some layered riffs, "Wind Strong" features some great layered riffs, combined with some solid drumming keeping the track on. "Defective Machine" is the most accessible track on here, featuring some slightly more skate-punk-esque drumming along with some heavy riffing, but with a highly melodic accessibility that should appeal to anyone who loves melodic punk with a passion.

In hardcore terms, Burnchurch are about as old school as they come. You won't find the slightest hint of a breakdown anywhere near this album. The drumming is really the main thing that ties this album together. Like most d-beat influenced groups, Burnchurch don't tend to step outside of their comfort zone. Despite their obvious leanings towards a very dark and gritty sound, there's enough melodic riffs on Burnchurch that I could easily see them appealing to fans of bands such as Basement or Gnarwolves.

You do get the feeling that Burnchurch would've worked so much better as an EP though, since despite clocking in at around 26 minutes, the album begins to run out of steam around the 17 minute mark. Complaining about the production on a crust punk release is like complaining about the sky being blue, but considering the complete and utter lack of bass guitar in the mix and the inaudibility of the vocals, I can't help but feel Burnchurch could benefit from having some slightly tighter production. Once you get towards the last third of the album, it all starts to feel a bit crust-by-numbers, and it doesn't contain the same edge and intensity that the first few tracks manage to keep.

Burnchurch aren't trying to re-write the crust punk handbook, but they aren't exactly its biggest adherent either. They don't sound like the type of guys who're keen to "stick to their roots" and seem like they want to make a definite attempt to broaden their sound. For a free album, this is well worth your time and one of the more interesting albums you should hear all year. Check it out if you have a fetish for highly melodic crust punk with a slightly metallic edge. You won't regret it.