Burning Thy Symbols (Germany): Superior E.P. (Mountain King Records)
1. “Superior” (5:57): No introductions, just black metal storms from the start: raw, speedy and blasting traditional-torch black metal of raspy-throat-shrieked vocals. Due to the shriek and overall noise, it’s a bit difficult to notice the gem: this song has several twists that take the tempo in nonlinear directions. It’s raw metal, but it’s not two-chord music. If it were, maybe it would not be easy to do a six-minute song? Do they mean to sound this raw or is it simply a lack of resources?
2. “Lords of Chaos” (6:05): Here the band displays a raw-tremolo-melodic edge, but then with those total-shriek vocals, how this vocalist can raise a noisy jamboree all by his corpsepainted self! Of course, he gets help from the rest of the band. Again, this is not repetitive-riff black metal, raging on the same riff for one song. For instance, by the middle of this song, there quite a bit of road that has been traveled, pretty far from the beginning’s riffs.
3. “Burning Thy Symbols” (6:17): I’m starting to think that the vocalist MS is a raging sado-masochist: he loves to torture his own throat. Yes! And wouldn’t you know it, at 3:10-4:00 these crazies show a little guitar-catchiness, before another round of rage.
4. “The Slaughter of God’s Child” (5:07): Plenty left in the tank. Nice part with some tapping, at 1:50-3:23, gives it a rocking vibe, but of course those shriek-vocals are screaming over the tapping. This whole part lasts a little while and the song is better for it.
5. “Invoke the Emperor” (7:10): This one starts out like another we-play-black-metal-and-that’s-that track. Fine. Bring it! But this song has an unexpected twist: they bust out with some clean singing at 1:55-2:23, then until 2:53, there is simple but very effective solo, and all of this is followed by a return of the grimness and chaos. Later on, those same clean-vocals lyrics appear to be done in the shriek style, giving it a different angle.
With this last song a clearer picture emerges: raging black metal, but they have a constant tendency to change the patterns within a song, so it’s not a one-trick pony. Final answer: yes, it’s raw and shrieked, but not one-dimensional. Speculation: expect more ambitious undertakings in the future.
Cynics might say that this is just typical angry-Donald-Duck-vocals black metal, but there is more to it than just shrieking and blasting.