KKKK Technically progressive hardcore brimming with hate.

    THERE'S SOMETHING strange happening in the predictable world of hardcore. While so many hardcore bands over the last few years have been content to simply copy and clone what has come before them, there are at last some bands intent on taking our favourite music to the next level. Joining the likes of Botch, Drowningman and the Dillinger Escape Plan, we now have four guys from Indianapolis also dead set on ensuring that hardcore stands the test of time. Mixing the bizarre techno-thrash of Canadians Voivod with a horrendously aggressive, up front hardcore attack, if there was ever going to be a successful mix of '70's prog rock with hardcore ethics and suss, then Burn It Down are it. Buy this record if you're looking for something new - it's as simple as that. - JAMES SHERRY


    4/5. A magnum opus of aggressive sounds.

    Burn It Down are heavy. This is the only generality that can be applied to a band who cover such vast sonic territory. Okay, so this musical ground is singularly rich in metals, but it is nevertheless far-reaching in its heaviness.

    Let the Dead Bury the Dead opens with the Voivod-like robo-metal of "Ten Percent of the Law," which applies almost math-like precision to its song structure. Within this framework, Ryan Downey's vocals alternate between a hardcore roar and a death-metal growl. Later, there's the night-prowling guitar riff and dark 'whoa-ohs' on 'Bones Are Made for Breaking,' a song that would sound right at home on a Type O Negative or Danzig record.

    "Do Your Worst" careens from speed metal to stop-start assault reminiscent of Helmet, while "...But the Past Ain't Through with Us" takes a stab at prog metal. On the latter track, as well as "The Most Beautiful Lie I Was Ever Sold or Told," Downey demonstrates that he can sing as well as he can scream. Although Burn It Down clearly draw from many influences, they still manage to sound visionary. - Matt Ryan


    The total Voivod worship in opener "Ten Percent of the Law" will send you into convulsions if you love the high-tech Canucks. While it doesn't end up being the Nothingface of 2000, the album is worth a serious listen or two... or 20. Burn It Down is bound to be lumped in with hybrid bands like Converge, Coalesce and Shadows Fall, but what floats to the surface on Let the Dead Bury the Dead is assuredly thick with metal. Into Another is a good reference point, if only because both bands are made up of wildly different individuals that get to create a wildly different sound. Hell, the many Celtic Frost references within the lyrics of "Time Vampires (A Worldwide Coffin)" reflect a deep love of the metallic good stuff. But they're far from just a mirror of their musical favorites. Burn It Down's ultimate talent is the ability to give you permutations of their influences, processing it all into one mighty enjoyable, unique, and exciting sound.

    Individually, there is nothing but strength. Drummer Brian "Bob" Fouts excels in his nimble snare acrobatics, the drums all tightly tuned. Fouts works stealthily, building with the rest of the band, and when the time for attack!!! comes, he's usually the one dealing the most incisive damage. Ryan Downey screams like a death metal James Hetfield with the haunting smoothness of Danzig, and rips his lungs and heart out elsewhere. His constant character-switching on highlight "The Most Beautiful Lie I Was Ever Told Or Sold" pays off with a catchy, clean croon, though "Do Your Worst" shows a young talent still exploring his vocal range with varying degrees of success. Bassist Jason McCash, while sitting steadily behind everyone else in the mix throughout, manages to spider-walk the neck frequently, even going for mathematical speed in "The Most Beautiful Lie..." Guitarist John Zeps is well-schooled in harmonics, dissonance, and low-end boom, scraping the headstock strings here and scratching the next strings with a pick there. Damn straight, these guys make the most of the tools available to them. Collectively, some songs are a little cluttered to be called memorable ("Do Your Worst," "...But the Past Ain't Through with Us"), though several thick layers of songwriting excellence power through ("The Most Beautiful Lie...," "Every Man's Got a Devil," "A Ghost Untied," and the bewildering title track). Stick with the album for its duration and you'll unveil more color and true metal sensibility than the first couple songs hint at. It's the kind of album with surprises around every corner. They were even able to make "Paint it Black" work with the rest of the album's flow, marking the only worthwhile version of this over-covered Stones song that I've come across.

    Hopefully Burn It Down will further highlight the melodic elements that hang just under the surface of their songs. Right now it's buried by the band's constant rattling crush; bringing it to the forefront would certainly widen their sonic/emotional landscape, adding a bit of balance and stellar-izing things appropriately. On top of Ryan's ever-expanding, ever-strengthening vocal range, there seem to be no limits ahead. Paired with the smart layout that comes with every Escape Artist release, Let the Dead Bury the Dead is worthwhile for its many high points. No wonder In Flames loves this band, wears their T-shirts and requests them as tour openers: they're forward-thinking and unafraid of modernizing while more than respectful of metal's thick history, just like the Swedish powerhouse. I think it's a mutual love thing, as there's an unhidden In Flames reference in "Ten Percent of the Law." Nice touch. - JEFF WAGNER


    "In one of the year's bigger disappointments, the members of Burn It Down parted ways just as they began a national tour to promote Let the Dead Bury the Dead. The band's legacy is sealed, however, in the album's pile-driving grooves. Underground metal doesn't come any better than Ryan Downey's life-affirming lyrics, John Zeps' fantastic guitar work and a surprisingly effective cover of the Rolling Stones' 'Paint it Black.'" - David Lindquist, TOP TEN LOCAL ALBUMS OF 2000.

    "While all the members successfully play their respective roles in Burn it Down, the true strength of the band comes from guitarist John Zeps, whose playing draws on everything from screaming metal leads to down-picking, crushing hardcore riffs." READ MORE.

    "Singer Ryan Downey is solid in all shape and form, a ringleader to the chaos and charismatic enough to take us by the hand and let us trust him as all Hell breaks loose. The thing about Burn It Down is not the hardcore elements or the diversity. The power of Burn It Down lies in the passion of their music. Their material is just such a passionate flow of ideas that gel with an intense hardcore groove that never seems to let up." READ MORE.

    "This is amazing right down to the Rolling Stones cover. Downey truly shows his talent as a vocalist combining the trademark growl with an absolutely amazing singing voice. I had no idea he had it in him. I would definitely say that this will remain in my cd player for quite a while." READ MORE.

    "It pisses me off that this band broke up after the release of this near perfect album! Their tunes combine total chaos with melody, never knowing what you're going to hear as one song ends and the next begins. The vocals go from a soothing croon to angry screams... This would definitely be considered one of my top 5 favorite releases of 2000. Pick this up!"