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Burn, Piano Island, Burn

The Blood Brothers
Burn, Piano Island, Burn
(Artist Direct)

I don't even know where to start with this one. I'm very late in reviewing it and I really have no other excuse other than that I was turned off by too many things with the album (of course, even though I hadn't actually heard it) to even listen to it. I don't find myself listening to much in the hardcore or punk rock genre anymore, and still think that The Shape Of Punk To Come by Refused is one of the benchmarks of the genre (besides the old schoolers like Minor Threat, Black Flag, etc) because it simply smashed the genre rules.

When I saw that this disc was produced by Ross Robinson (who has produced Korn, for Gods sake) and that it was supposed to be somewhat snotty and brash, I turned away. Finally, I relented and I'm glad that I've let the Blood Brothers into my little life. Although it's not something I find myself listening to every single day (you've got to be in a mood for this sort of thing), I have to admit that this release usually manages to give me a little boost when I listen to it and it has the added bonus of scaring little kids.

And whoever told me that the release was snotty and brash is right. It's 12 tracks and 46 minutes of furious guitars, screamed vocals, crazy-ass dynamic changes and stream of consciousness lyrics that somehow make a lot of sense sometimes. The disc stats in full with "Fucking's Greatest Hits" and basically goes on a complete tear from there out. The album-titled track will lodge yelping vocals of the title into your brain immediately and "Every Breath Is A Bomb" is a noisy, swaggering track that actually injects a bit of funk into the proceedings before burning everything on a pyre.

I could go on about which song on the album is my favorite ("Ambulance Vs Ambulance" is up there), but there are many in the running and only few tracks that don't do a lot for me. Unlike some hardcore albums that I've heard in the past couple years, The Blood Brothers very wisely change things up a lot to keep the album interesting. There are piano melodies, there are quiet moments with acoustic guitars, and their are tons of other little sonic flourishes that help one track to stand out from the one before it. The quiet moments (and ocassional unique instrumentation) only add to the dramatic shifts when the group does let loose, too (which is a lot). The album even closes out with a track called "The Shame," a slowly-building track that moves on much further past anything attempted on the album before it into a dense, swirling post punk masterpiece. Basically, Burn, Piano Island, Burn kicks my ass more than any album I've heard this year, and that's worth something by itself. It's definitely not for everyone, but I'm darn glad I gave it a chance.

Rating: 8