Review: “Self Titled” by Burker

Burker is the bastard son of a broken society and the creative angst of its mutant misfits. The lyrics are the putrid prophecies of a lunatic’s fever dream. The music is as hauntingly beautiful as it is baleful and their sermons are guttural lullabies for the lost children of this lurid world.” ~ Burker

Formed in the summer of 2021 Ohio-based Death-Doom outfit Burker tested the waters with trio of singles in “Killing Urge“, “In the Wake Of Mayhem” and “Three Foot Pipe” before settling down to record their debut self titled EP as part of a quest to create and perfect a signature sound. Committing high treason by combining 90’s era Old School Death Metal influenced by the likes of Cannibal Corpse and Morbid Angel with the slower, Sludge elements one might expect from Crowbar or EyeHateGod, those songs find vocalist Jameson Burkey, guitarist and bassist Matt Pifer and drummer Ryan Pifer sharpening their blades at the grindstone and hungry for more…

…the sparks begin to fly with “Cast Into The Flame” which builds a chilling atmosphere with a subtle yet haunting and unexpected acoustic introduction before the guitars bring the walls down like a wrecking ball. A mid paced chugger with a classic old school Death Metal drum sound, Burkey dials in with some blood gargling backing vocals in a second vocal layer that catch you off guard while the lyrics paint a vivid picture involving hot pokers. The production is solid and the kit work sounds thunderous while the guitars grind along in a way reminiscent of the tape trading era in style but with much improved quality. The baton is passed to “Monstrosity Arise” to pick up the pace and here the band save the best moments for the later part of the cut, which is made by a solo before the rise in tempo with some blasting from Pifer into the final minute. Ironically enough “Soulless” is the opposite of the title, a 33 second lead guitar interlude that has atmosphere and soul in abundance despite its short duration. It doesn’t feel like an outtake or something leftover but instead the kind of background music that you might hear during a ghostly scene on a TV drama. The gates of hell open for “Synthetic Reality” which plunges us into the Crowbar tinged Death Metal sound, particularly towards the end with the cut having a well worked dark spoken word and a sinister solo. The brutal violence of “Crossed The Line” is really good fun, the tale of a lover scorned who takes his bloody revenge in style in the vein of something you might expect from Canadian Death Grind merchants Human Compost, it finds the band in their element. A stand out cut with more leads and a certain emotive quality in the vocals, it makes for an outstanding closing to a solid debut which feels like a collection of good songs that could be made better simply by re-ordering them [7/10]

Track Listing

  1. Cast Into The Flame
  2. Monstrosity Arise
  3. Soulless
  4. Synthetic Reality
  5. Crossed The Line

Self Titled” by Burker is out 17th October 2022

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