Swedish metal band Burst have been getting some strong reviews from important sources, as a formerly extreme band who are moving into greater complexity and maturity with this album. They’re developing strong chops and mature ideas, and that makes this album very listenable and compelling in itself, but there is a certain shortage of personality and uniqueness. As musicians and songwriters, Burst certainly have serious skills. The guitarists and bassist are not afraid to change moods, and explore moodier passages and exotic instrumental breaks. Drummer Patrik Multin is especially impressive in his array of intricate beats, with a full range from aggressive metal jackboot rhythms to slow and sneaky grooves. Meanwhile, singer Linus Jagerskog may seem like a typical nu-metal groaner/screamer at first, but upon repeated listens he reveals some emotion and pathos to match the band’s dark lyrics and inventive musical workouts. Those who are familiar with the Deftones may be reminded of a more mature version of singer Chino Moreno, though that’s for comparison purposes only.
The progressive metal approach of Burst is best heard in tracks like “The Immateria,” “Flight’s End,” and “Stormwielder.” These compelling songs display some very intricate songwriting, especially with the shifting moods and complex dynamics of which most extreme bands are completely incapable. This makes Burst plenty impressive already, but they still have some work ahead of them, in order to become truly memorable over the long term. They’ve taken their progressive tendencies too far in a few places, especially in the long atmospheric instrumental “It Comes Into View,” which was probably meant to establish a mood in the middle of the album and break the heavy tension. But unfortunately that track drifts into a cloudy haze, as do some codas in other songs. And overall, while Burst are progressing very impressively, most of what they’re doing is exactly what you’d expect from a “progressive” metal band. They’re bursting with emerging skills and maturity, but they haven’t yet injected their own personality into those impressive chops. [~doomsdayer520~]