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Review: Burning Love – Rotten Thing to Say

Another stellar offering from the new gem of Southern Lord Records.

Iann Robinsonby Iann Robinson

Burning Love

Rotten Thing To Say

Southern Lord Records

So you think your band is good? So you think your music kicks so much ass it’s almost impossible to not find it genius? Take your band’s stuff, run it up against the new Burning Love album Rotten Thing To Say and really see how it good it is. What’s that? Are you sweating? Is that fear in those eyes? Good, you should be afraid because Rotten Thing To Say is an unstoppable extreme music goliath that oozes awesome sauce from every pour.

For those of you who don’t know, Burning Love is the newish project from former Cursed front man Chris Colohan. The band’s first LP, Songs For Burning Lovers was a powerful if lo-fi example of the storm that was to come. Now, with the full force of Southern Lord Records behind them, Burning Love have unleashed an album that is the bastard son of hardcore, punk, metal and groove rock. With that much musical semen swimming through the veins of an album it could easily become a mess of ideas that fail in execution. Rotten Thing To Say avoids this because Colohan and his band (former members of Our Father) know the secret to any great album is the ability to write a song.

Rotten Thing To Say has a groovy intro, one that lulls you into a false sense of security. The intro comes across like an extended seventies groove rock bridge. The drums and bass keeps the head bobbin’ going while the guitars play off of thick riffage and a sweet solos. Right when you think Burning Love have decided to turn out a stoner album, the band sneaks up behind you with the crowbar of “No Love”. The song absolutely pummels you into submission but not with some tepid Mach 5 speed riff, it does it with a swing to it. The riff here is a rocker but played so dirty and so grim that it becomes an assault.

“Karla” tells the story of a man torturing a girl over the top of a Motorhead inspired guitar line and tempo. Again the riff doesn’t monopolize the song, it just holds the groove while the drums keep switching up and the bass fuzzes everything into syrup. As the song congeals the solos wrap it up into a nice bow. Burning Love has written a record that is pissed off, dark, gritty and can still be played at a party. Holy fuck how awesome is that? I can sit in my room and contemplate ending it all or try to get laid and Rotten Thing To Say will work on both levels.

“Superstitious Friend” is reminiscent of the pure power and aggression of Cursed as is the 39-second song “Tremors”. “Hateful Comforts” is what would happen if Queens Of The Stone Age were a bunch of tormented hardcore kids instead of the cool kids from band class. “1231” is the instrumental jam that shows just how good Burning Love are. The structure and epic feel of the song create a mood of general destruction even without Colohan’s hateful narration.

Let’s talk about Chris Colohan for a second. Nobody touches him when it comes to extreme music vocals. Nobody. His voice is part growl, part scream and part pure desperation. He is one of the only people in extreme music that sings with passion and vulnerability and not just rage. Outside of his remarkable voice are his lyrics. The man knows how to write, he knows how to use imagery to create mood. In “Karla” when he says “Three days is a long time for a Catholic girl to die. There’s no more pain killers, just me, you and this hammer”, you feel uncomfortable.

When he belts out about his “Superstitious Friend” who “knows what happens after the after life but I’m just trying to get through tonight”, it cuts through you. It’s incredibly refreshing to hear somebody tap into all the feelings of dark abandon that follow us through this wretched life. Burning Love has presented a statement of purpose with Rotten Thing To Say. This album is a wake up call to all those who have mired extreme music in the muck of mediocrity.