ALBUM REVIEW – “The World is My Enemy Now” by Upon a Burning Body

Those who have followed Upon a Burning Body‘s movements in recent weeks are probably expecting some kind of ‘missing’ joke to appear in this review. For those who haven’t, simply visit the band’s Facebook page and see for yourself the relentless comments, riffing off of a questionable publicity stunt involving the faked abduction of vocalist Danny Leal. Shameless and ill-advised as this whipping up of the social media maelstrom was, it’s gotten more people talking about The World is My Enemy Now than any previous UABB release, no bad thing for a band who’ve never achieved top tier status despite a solid, hard-hitting debut and a sophomore album with at least two bona-fide anthems contained within.

Channelling the accessible peaks of Red. White. Green. through the consistently vicious paradigm that characterised The World is Ours, Texas’ proudest sons retain their trademark swagger on their third record, their best to date. Longstanding comparisons to Pantera are only going to be amplified by the crunching groove n’ roll of ‘The New Breed’ (even if the chorus more readily recalls Marilyn Manson’s ‘This is the New Shit’). Another overt influence comes from Slipknot, that band’s intensity and manic drum style carrying over to ‘Pledge of Allegiance’ in particular. On the other hand, moments of this album are excitingly original and distinct, such as the surging varied tempos that keep ‘Bring the Rain’ unpredictable and exciting. Palette-cleansing instrumental ‘A Toda Madrè ò un Desmadrè’ even dips into acoustic Latino barroom dance territory.

Unusually for a metalcore album, The World is My Enemy Now requires time to be fully appreciated. More by-the-book songs like ‘Scars’ and the title track initially feel underwhelming compared to the more left-field fare, but given repeat listening reveal intriguing hooks thanks partially to Leal’s occasional use of clean vocals. Despite this, some of the album (‘Red Razor Wrists’, for instance) does get bogged down in one-dimensional chugging guitars and mid-ranged screamed vocal refrains. Lyrically too, very little development has been made from the bravado of earlier works. Punchy as the album feels, songs like ‘Fountain of Wishes’ and ‘Middle Finger to the World’ become mired in repetitive hooks. Characteristic of this inconsistency are the two guest appearances – the lead guitar theatrics and Matt Heafy’s contribution to ‘Blood, Sweat and Tears’ are excellent, whereas incongruity between the band’s braggadocio and a fleeting but repetitive pop rock chorus from Telle Smith renders ‘I’ve Earned My Time’ toothless.

Growth in some areas and lack of it in others gives a transitional feel to The World is My Enemy Now, and the impression of a band who are striving towards yet haven’t quite reached the peak of their powers. Caught between the deathcore of old and a promising potential future as a groove metal powerhouse, Upon a Burning Body wear their influences on their sleeve proudly and show a knack for balancing accessibility and aggression. With more standout moments than their first record and an overall higher standard of quality than their second, third time proves the charm for a group with much to give (even if real greatness remains, for the mean time, missing).

Rating: 7 / 10

Michael Bird

‘Scars’

‘Bring the Rain’

 

UABB

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