REVIEW: Burn Halo – Up From The Ashes

burn halo 2011

Artist: Burn Halo
Album: Up From The Ashes
Label: Rock

Every time I make my way out to Southern California, I fall in love with the place. It’s hard not to fall in love with a place like that really; it has perfect weather year round, everyone there is so relaxed too, friendly enough, and no one seems to have any problems with drinking during the middle of the day, which makes them a friend in my book. But the reality isn’t quite that simple, different coasts have very different mentalities; different ways of life. I’ve spent a lot of time in LA – as much as two weeks at a time – and while I love it out there, I could never live there, sadly. I’m way to high strung and angry, everyone in LA is a little too calm for my taste. The weather is excellent, but I don’t think I could deal with the other trade offs. After spending my whole life living in DC and Boston – two of the angriest cities in the world – I know there is just no way I’m ever going to understand the Southern California way of life. It’s an entirely different lifestyle, the people are different, they have different tastes, different styles, and honestly, there is a lot of it that I just can’t identify with. They even have their own style of music that’s rather instantly identifiable, the east coast has metal bands like Converge or The Chariot, the west coast has bands like Atreyu, or Burn Halo, the newest project from the former vocalist of Eighteen Visions. The difference is remarkable, really, the east coast bands sound like have something they need to make noise about; they’re angry and gritty, and really just need to yell about something. The aforementioned west coast bands on the other hand, have a more simplistic vibe; they just wanna play some heavy music and have a good time, like a semi-modern reincarnation of Motley Crue.

Sadly, I’m quite the closet Motley Crue fan, so I definitely understand the appeal of such a thing, and while the mindset isn’t completely lost on me, Burn Halo is just a band from the wrong era. All issues with their image aside, their new album, Up From The Ashes is a solid effort, the songs are well written, the production quality is top notch, and some of the songs are very appealing in an 80’s hair metal sort of way. Up From The Ashes is also a very complete package. It has everything from Skid Row-esque ballads like “Give Me A Sign” to real driving metal songs like “Alone” or the title track that just scream Sunset Strip, and even guitar solos that would make Slash and Mick Mars proud; a lost art in today’s music scene. But as an album that is intended to captivate listeners in a contemporary sense, it doesn’t meet the same expectations, 25 years ago, Burn Halo would be selling out the Whisky and OD-ing with the best of them, but in 2011, listeners are typically just looking for something different, something a bit more modest, perhaps.

This whole Southern California 80’s metal revival scene just doesn’t really work for me, or perhaps it just had it’s time in the spotlight, and that time has since passed; I know I used to love Atreyu, and while I hate to admit it, I even dabbled in Eighteen Visions a little bit. But it just doesn’t do it for me anymore, that style of music had a good run, Atreyu even broke into the mainstream for awhile, but I think it’s about time to put the past to rest. Burn Halo seems to really just be a reincarnated Eighteen Visions, trying to keep the old spirit of LA metalcore bands alive, and the time for such a band is long gone. The world needs it’s rockstars, but the whole Motley Crue mentality just doesn’t work in the real world anymore, people just don’t appreciate heroin binges like they used to. As if a musician could afford such a habit these days anyway, I’ll leave that stuff to the 80’s, and perhaps Burn Halo should let them have their metal back, too.

SCORE: 4/10
Review written by: Michael Hogan

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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