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Burning The Masses - "Mind Control" (CD)

Burning The Masses - "Mind Control" CD cover image

"Mind Control" track listing:

1. Cinema (0:27)
2. Paroxysm Of Fear (1:16)
3. Mind Control (4:29)
4. Moltres (3:44)
5. Cyanide (3:48)
6. Gerascophobia (3:58)
7. La Chupacabra (1:10)
8. Arms Raised, Eyes Closed (3:47)
9. Nailgun Massacre (2:45)
10. Euphoria Ends (5:33)
11. Prodigy (2:57)
12. Galactic Abduction (2:29)

Reviewed by on February 21, 2009

"The sound of another deathcore album may have metal fans running to the hills, but “Mind Control” takes a different approach from the rest of the pack that exceeds any and all expectations."

Burning The Masses is a young deathcore band from San Diego, California that recently released their debut album, “Mind Control.” A lot of bands in the deathcore genre are known for excessive breakdowns and monotonous riffing, (i.e. Suicide Silence and Trigger The Bloodshed), but Burning The Masses avoids these trends, utilizing the talent of each member to the full effect. “Mind Control” clocks in at a short 36 minutes, blazing through its 12 tracks using a head-on approach, relentless in the sonic onslaught.

Melody isn’t a foreign word in the band’s dictionary; however, as there are several instrumental and intros that show a unfamiliar and mature side of the band, a striking feature for a band that has only been together for a couple of years. The sound of another deathcore album may have metal fans running to the hills, but “Mind Control” takes a different approach from the rest of the pack that exceeds any and all expectations.

The album gets off to a bland start, with two short tracks that don’t serve much of a purpose. The title track should be considered the first official song, and what an introduction it makes to the unsuspecting listener. The guitar harmonies are fast and precise, and the drumming is all over the place, keeping a steady rhythm one minute, and going off on insane fills the next. The only disappointing part of the song, and the album in general, are the lackluster vocals of David Montenegro. He has power behind his screams and growls, and tries to vary them throughout “Mind Control,” but he doesn’t do anything with his voice that hundreds of other deathcore singers have done. With the immense skills of the other members, it makes the vocals stand out more for their lack of excitement and surprise they bring to the table.

Most of the songs are fast-paced, with driving riffs and skull-crushing drum work. The technical aspect of the album comes from the stellar guitar work of Chris Valenzuela and Arde Ostowari. The duo play off each other well, with a chemistry that becomes more and more apparent as the listener gets deeper into the album. Their trade-off solos on “Arms Raised, Eyes Closed” will bring back memories of "Rust In Peace"-era Megadeth, while their jaw-dropping lead work on “Cyanide” deserves endless praise. Finger-tapping, sweeping, shredding; all the tricks the guitarists had up their sleeve are exposed and left out in the open for all to witness. The rhythm section is solid as well, with bassist Jake Pace having room to breathe in the mix and provide decent bass lines in the intro to “Gerascophobia.”

Burning The Masses breaks up the uncompromising flow of “Mind Control” with two instrumentals, the Latin-flavored “La Chupacabra” and the frantic closer “Galactic Abduction.” The former has some tasteful flamenco work, while the latter is two-and-a-half minutes of pure bliss, a shred-fest that is tightly composed and is guaranteed to impress at least a few listeners along the way. These two instrumentals help to add some variety to the proceedings.

“Mind Control” was a pleasant surprise, with a lot more going for it under the surface. The album keeps the listener’s attention, with technical wizardry from the guitarists, and a solid mix of brutality and melody. The songwriting is good, with the only misstep being the dull epic “Euphoria Ends.” The album may not inspire people to jump on the deathcore bandwagon, but by keeping the breakdowns to a minimum, and putting the spotlight on flashy instrumental work, Burning The Masses’ debut soars over the competition.

Highs: Superb guitar work, nice variety, strong instrumentals, precise drumming

Lows: Standard deathcore vocals, too much filler in the early going

Bottom line: "Mind Control" is a great debut album that showcases a young band with a load of talent and a bright future ahead.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)