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New Burning Brides: Burn this album. . . and leave no ashes

Posted by July 12th, 2004 No Comments »

Burning Brides: Leave No Ashes
V2 Records
By Graham Isaac

In past and recent interviews, Burning Brides frontman Dimitri Coats has made no bones about the fact that he’s disgusted with the lack of excitement in current rock and roll, saying that a certain childlike enthusiasm needs to be regained in order for rock to maintain vitality. He’s also made no bones about the fact that his band, the Burning Brides, will do this; that the world just needs to put the Brides in their headphones and feel the Gs!

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I was a little over-enthusiastic in my review of their debut album, but it was an album that inspired enthusiasm. It mined rock’s past in a way that also looked ahead to the future, mixing classic rock, metal and indie influences into a potent cocktail. The new album merely feels like listening to a mating of mainstream 70s rock radio and mainstream mid 90s rock radio (without the free ticket giveaways.) Gone are the MC5 and Pixies influences; they’ve been replaced by Silverchair and Foghat.

Burning Brides: Leave No Ashes
V2 Records
By Graham Isaac

In past and recent interviews, Burning Brides frontman Dimitri Coats has made no bones about the fact that he’s disgusted with the lack of excitement in current rock and roll, saying that a certain childlike enthusiasm needs to be regained in order for rock to maintain vitality. He’s also made no bones about the fact that his band, the Burning Brides, will do this; that the world just needs to put the Brides in their headphones and feel the Gs!

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I was a little over-enthusiastic in my review of their debut album, but it was an album that inspired enthusiasm. It mined rock’s past in a way that also looked ahead to the future, mixing classic rock, metal and indie influences into a potent cocktail. The new album merely feels like listening to a mating of mainstream 70s rock radio and mainstream mid 90s rock radio (without the free ticket giveaways.) Gone are the MC5 and Pixies influences; they’ve been replaced by Silverchair and Foghat.

We’ll start with what works, however. Coats and company (which includes Jason someoneorother who used to drum for the Hot Snakes are talented enough that, until the last few tracks, the disc is pretty listenable, and you only have to shut the lyrics out about half of the time. Opener and first single “Heart Full of Black” is an out and out AC/DC rip-off, and it flows into “Come Alive,” a candy-grunge anthem so sweet I couldn’t help but be won over (even though my teeth started to hurt during the “Whoo-hoo-HOOS!” of the second verse.) Later, “King of the Demimonde” throws down some much-needed screams over a Badmotorfinger-worthy riff that midway through morphs into something closer to Slayer, and for a moment I was ushered into the rock Valhalla that the rest of this disc falls short of.

Perhaps that’s the truly depressing thing about listening to this disc; there are traces of the talent and inspiration that marked Fall of the Plastic Empire but it seems Coats has taken to believing his own hype. Hey Dimitri: you weren’t in Vietnam, and modeling yourself after all the classics does not a classic make. At one point in the title track Coats barks “this is the sound of a rocking band!” and leaves bassist Melanie Campbell and the drummer to carry the tune while a wave of fake crowd noise plays ego booster. Whether this was intended ironically or not is hard to say, but it does kill the momentum of what could have been one of the better rockers on the disc.

Finishing off Leave No Ashes are four ballads– which could have been put to better use peppered throughout the album. Of them, “Pleasure in the Pain” is the best, working a Credence-like acoustic groove under some of Coat’s better lyrics (“I hope I did my best to do you wrong.”) “From You” could have been a great power pop number, but at two minutes it sounds like Coats got bored about halfway through writing it and gave up. The less said about the last two tracks, “Last Man Standing” and “Vampire Waltz” (insert snide comment *here*) the better.

All in all, if one wants to take this as another schticky, Big Dumb Rock album, they won’t be disappointed – at times even pleasantly surprised. However, if you don’t think that rock and roll has to be a parody of itself – hell, even if you wanted something that wasn’t going to leave you thinking “needs. . . more. . . cowbell!” – this album fails more than it succeeds. – (5/10)


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