Upon a Burning Body
is a band that really makes its shout-outs to their home country. Forming in 2005 from San Antonio, Texas
, this rowdy quintet holds a high honor to not only their hometown and their Mexican heritage. It also speaks much of the gangster and crime drama films of the southwest, as heard in their previous record “The World Is Ours” from 2009. Such songs include “Carlito’s Way” and “Donnie Brasco.” However, all of this should be the least of anyone’s reasons to truly admire this band and their works. They play brutal yet technical deathcore that even jaded listeners might be able to get into. In “The World Is Ours,” the production was crisp, the musicianship was outstanding, and the deathcore sledging was very effective, even slipping in some melody into it, making the mix all the more intriguing. In short, Upon a Burning Body
started off on a strong step forward. Now they’ve returned in 2012
to bang heads and crash beers, with their sophomore full-length entitled “Red
. White. Green.” A fittingly crazed sequel to their debut effort, “Red
. White. Green.” is a strong record that balances on the line between brutality and melody greatly.
Firstly, the musicianship still thrives throughout for this band in “Red
. White. Green.” Danny Leal’s vocals always have had an incredible range, effortlessly expanding from low gutturals to mid-range and wicked high-pitch screams. In addition to that, there is a tad more clean singing in this record than the last, especially in the track “Texas Blood Money
.” It does really add to the melodic elements that “Red
. White. Green.” has to offer, and it only helps the band in the end. Speaking of melody, the guitar work is also leaning more to that aspect. Ranging from deadly chugs to even heartfelt and melodic riffs, they also serve as a wonderful highlight for this album. The drums are also still as versatile as they were in “The World Is Ours,” and they’re quite technical and rapid, but solid enough to not sound like a jumble of random drum solos. Overall, the musicianship is just outstanding. However, the production of this record does sort of get in the way of letting the guitar work really shine, because at times, especially in some melodic parts, the guitars do sound a little too quiet, faded, and blended. Luckily this isn’t the case for the guitar solos, and while this is clearly a drawback for this record, it doesn’t stop “Red
. White. Green.” from being an at least decent record.
One of the most remarkable traits of Upon a Burning Body
’s music is its ability to deliver some brutal deathcore punches that almost never lose steam. This is well-presented in this album, one of the most prime examples being the second song “Sin
City,” which ravages the listener’s eardrums throughout the track with bludgeoning breakdowns and rapid-fire metal blasts. It’s a little complex, but for the most part, it’s an incredibly rowdy track that especially pit moshers will take pleasure in greatly. Another track with such versatile abrasiveness is “Predator
,” which features Johnny Plague from famed symphonic deathcore act Winds Of Plague
. The guitar work is really at work in this track, and the music alone just slams your head against the table multiple times. The only exception from this song’s unrelenting attack is the very end, where it fades into a brief acoustic guitar plucking, but the melodies the guitars induce in “Predator
” allow that small segment to fit the end of the track. “From Dusk
,” featuring Nate Johnson of deathcore band Fit For An Autopsy
, also delivers an unbelievably heavier feel to the previously mentioned songs. Brutal
deathcore slams flourish in this track, and the western-rock influenced guitar shreds and solos really build up the burning tension of this song. Those who looked forward to see the deathcore craziness as they did in “The World Is Ours” will surely enjoy all of this.
The melodies that made some appearances in the previous album have been highly enhanced in “Red
. White. Green.” They really help the record in its versatility, and it envelopes the deathcore onslaughts seamlessly. Also, as stated earlier, there is more clean singing that accompanies these instrumental melodies than there was in “The World Is Ours,” and it really makes this record all the more effective. The track that best demonstrates this is the track “Texas Blood Money
,” where it kicks off with an anthem in honor of the band’s home state, with the members chanting, “The stars at night are big and bright in the heart of Texas
!” It then explodes in rowdy guitar melodies and gang vocals. It still pertains to the deathcore aspect that this band is so well known for, and it never loses flow with the rest of the album. “El Mariachi,” an interlude track, plays a southwestern acoustic guitar tune that really speaks for itself about the band’s homeland. Once
again, this song also doesn’t stray from the rest of the tracks, because they usually bear that same southern edge to their tunes. Upon a Burning Body
has progressed in their ability to insert melody in their songs without having to compromise their brutality.
. White. Green.” is a great record that old fans will dig and new fans will start to follow. Both
rowdiness and melody thrive and coexist excellently in this album, making for quite a memorable piece. It does have a few minor flaws, including the sound production which could have turned out better, and some of the songs have silly lyrics, especially the song “Sin
City.” Named after the famous crime drama film by director Robert Rodriguez, it does include weird lines that would probably only be good for stirring up some energy in the audience, such as “Life
sucks, and then you die” and “Motherfucker, tell me, how do you bleed?” On the other hand, though, in songs such as “Texas Blood Money
,” the group pays its respects to its home back in Texas
, and it’s really cool how they do that. Luckily, even with these sorts of flaws, deathcore and hardcore fans will be too busy moshing and busting their own necks to even notice them. Once
again, it could even appeal to jaded metal fans, with its solid melodic riffs and solos throughout. Overall, “Red
. White. Green.” is a very strong record that truly is something to throw parties to.