Flames Of Dignity - Burning Down The Heavens [Demo]
Album Review written by TheSwingThing
After months of seeking and searching, I finally got my hands on the local metal scene’s highly acclaimed ‘Burning Down The Heavens’ by Flames of Dignity (FOD). At first glance, it’s a little short at only 5 tracks, but that only means you get to read a track by track review of what I think, so here it is…
1. BORN OF THE UNWOMB
This track is 3mins of just one organ (synthesized probably). It’s got an eerie sounding intro coupled with a melody line that is something like a chorus. No virtuoso stuff, just ‘normal’ melodic playing which could be the soundtrack to the next Dracula movie. In short its simple but effective, does a good job of setting the Transylvania atmosphere.
2. THE WALKING DEAD
Here’s where the metal begins. A deceptive stoner riff in the intro begins a song and then the whole double drumming tremolo picking death low register growling metal grind begins. This is what the local metal scene would describe as ‘bruuutalll sia’. Of course after the grind, the intro riff comes back again as the chorus. Then there’s a verse and then comes the melodic synth solo and finally the guitar solo in true melodic metal fashion. Arrangement wise, the song is quite the usual melodic metal affair. The synth parts are definitely the song’s best feature as they are simple but give the song so much more melody. The guitar solo also deserves some mention because it sounds like a Kerry King influenced solo which is unusual for a song like this. Overall, the song was ok for me, nothing gut wrenching.
3. VIOLATING TERRITORY
A Piano/synth intro leads this track into another grinding double drumming part which is not that different from the first except this time the riff after the grind is not a stoner one but Metallica inspired triplet based Harvester Of Sorrow thing with the synth laying down the melody lines. Just as the grind and melody get boring this break comes in where the piano plays some gothic lines while a guitar makes funny noises with its tremolo. Not bad! What comes after is slow and menacing with ‘heavy’ as the keyword and it stays that way until the guitar starts to solo which is another Kerry King affair. Finally just before the outro is this whispering and clean guitars part which sounds nothing short of demented.
When all is said and done, I prefer this to the first track, however I don’t think it should be called Violating Territory. It sounds more like ‘Headbangers Territory’.
4. BURNING DOWN THE HEAVENS
And we’ve arrived at the title track. What greets you is the all too familiar grind, this time with more breaks and speed. Then we have a nice groovy riff which I really like here. A few more grinds and grooves later comes the usually early guitar solo. This time the lead guitarist has decided to take off his Kerry King hat and try something else. Soloing over a groovy beat instead of blast beat, he does an Egyptian sounding thing which isn’t that bad at all. Then there is an unexpected break in which the guitar (or bass I’m not sure) plays another Egyptian melody line with the synth in the background. This, in my opinion is a very nice touch but after that we’re grinding again. After a few more grinds and grooves the song draws to close.
To me, this song’s best features are its groovy riffs or what I like to call ‘grooves’. It ties in very well with the grind parts and is definitely a very welcome change. This track is clearly the strongest sounding one because it’s the only one that’s got enough variation to sound interesting.
We’re back in solo synthesizer land again! This time it’s track of strings not organs and this time it’s more of a melancholic theme rather than a dark eerie one and this time its pretty good too. Opening with rich sounding chords it presents a slow sad melody that drones into deep grief. This is the kind of stuff that they play at the end of Romeo and Juliet. In short, I’d say it’s a really good soap opera tragedy thing. Instead Dracula I think this one would sit perfectly in the last episode of ‘Days Of Our Lives’.
A few words:
In summary, I’d like to say that ‘Burning Down The Heavens’ was ok for me but nothing great. Although the band is tight and plays together like a dream, the songs were a bit predictable. With the exception of the title track the other tracks sounded very ordinary and unpolished. Having said these there is one person I’d like to compliment in the band and that’s the keyboardist/synth player. I feel that without the melody and emotion he brings out in his playing, this EP could have never distinguished itself from the rest.
Another issue I’d like to raise is the guitar tone and sound. To me, the guitar was lacking, it sounded very digital and mushy. Also, the guitars had time cutting through the mix (esp. the solos) in my opinion. This could be due to the mixing or other factors which I’m unaware of. Having played a bit of guitar myself, I know that achieving good sound is really hard and expensive but I honestly feel that most good compositions on this EP failed to shine through because of bad sound.
Subsequently, I think this ‘Burning Down The Heavens’ though respectable could have been so much better.