There are some albums that are so carefully crafted, so perfectly layered and produced, that they get better with each and every listen. Burning Sister is one of those albums.
Part of the album’s appeal is the wide variety of musical influences the band embodies. The Burning Sister trio plays what they call Downer Rock—an intoxicating blend of Psychedelia, Acid, Doom, Stoner, and ‘70s Rock and Metal.
Whatever they call it, their sound is massive. Even on slow and steady riffs like “Path Destroyer,” the attack is direct and impossibly heavy—enough that it took us a little while to dial into the right listening volume. The recording is big and bold enough that it sometimes feels like you’re actually listening in concert, with the speakers right in front of your face.
We also want to throw out some love for the album cover on this one. For something that owes so much to Doom and Psychedelia, the band could have easily chosen one of the easier album cover paths. Maybe a big pile of drugs. Maybe a half-naked, seductive woman. Maybe something more cosmic. Instead, we’re treated to a handcrafted image of a woman prepared to stab a demon. Awesome.
About Burning Sister
Burning Sister hails from Denver, Colorado, and features these three talented musicians:
Steve – Bass/Voice
Drake – Guitar
Alison – Drums
Now, let’s get to the review.
Burning Sister Review
Album Length: 28:16
Track 1: Path Destroyer
“Path Destroyer” is your first taste of what’s to come throughout Burning Sister. This opener packs a heavy, distorted wallop that is incredibly heavy and lithe—an unexpected (and impressive) combination. The trembling bass plows you into your seat, but the infectious guitar work pulls you right back out of it (thanks Jamie Hillyer at Module Overload for doing such a great job!).
With so much Doom, the Sleep influences are undeniable. As we settled into the groove, we expected to hear Al Cisneros come through on the mic. Surprise, surprise, though, Steve follows more in the laidback vibes of Fu Manchu’s Ken Pucci.
After nearly four minutes of heavy delivery, “Path Destroyer” takes a sudden left turn into shimmering, jangling guitars. The intermission doesn’t last long, though. By 5:00, the band is back to business, delivering those mammoth riffs for the rest of the song.
Track 2: Lord of Nothing
Like “Path Destroyer,” “Lord of Nothing” is another slow burn. And, like “Path Destroyer,” we eventually come to a surprise: a quick solo break on a clean guitar that soars over the waves of fuzz.
Track 3: Maelstrom
“Maelstrom” has single potential written all over it, especially in the second half. This instrumental track has it all: killer groove, impressive guitar work, and mean, determined energy. This is one maelstrom you’ll be happy to get sucked into. Even on such a short album, this is a nice pallet cleanser before the next two tracks.
Track 4: Burning Sister
“Burning Siser” is the title track on an eponymous EP, which means expectations are high; this is essentially the band’s anthem. “Burning Sister” shows the band can play soft, as the song opens on a quiet, relatively clean guitar and a mammoth bass line. This proves to be something of a misdirect, however, as “Burning Sister” alternates between heavy riffing and clever guitar work, and it’s also the only song on the track where Steve’s voice is pulled closer to the forefront. The breakdown on “Burning Sister” takes a while to reach, but it’s epic (and starts around 4:30).
Track 5: Oblivinaut
“Oblivinaut” opens low and slow, like an old Black Sabbath song. The bass here is massive—Electric Wizard level massive. While “Oblivinaut” isn’t the most impressive song on Burning Sister, it’s definitely the most interesting. “Oblivinaut” is essentially split into 1:40 sections divided by silence, where the band lets their instruments fade away before rolling the bass in again.
Pros: Burning Sister labeled themselves Downer Rock to set themselves apart, but they’re still in a genre that’s really hard to do well—and they’re doing it very well while adding in their own flair.
As we said at the top, this is an album that will grow on you with every listen. If you like fuzz, bass, and slow grooves, this is an excellent album to squeeze into your day.
Cons: Like we said: This is a genre that’s really hard to do well. As much as the band shines for their ingenuity, there are some areas where the album could use a little more polish. Example: The silence in “Oblivinaut” feels like it’s supposed to coincide with the story inside the lyrics, but Steve’s vocals are so far back, it’s difficult to catch the whole thing. Still, we’re excited to see what these mile-high rockers have in store for their next album.