US based band, Chicago Is Burning is a one man project which has been described as chaotic, industrial metalcore. Thanks to Iron Guardian Industries, I have been issued with a copy of ‘American Outlaw’ for review. I have never heard them prior to today and am curious to hear what this one man has achieved and what he has to offer our glorious metal realm.
This Is How People Get Killed – An industrial sounding effect fades in to the album which is soon met by a conglomeration of furious, distorted guitars and hammering drums. As one must expect within the metalcore genre, the vocals are screamed throughout. There is an ambience surrounding the music which makes it much more enticing for my own preferences. At 02:18 there is a structural shift which brews yet another storm. Overall, this has more of a club sound to it than the crazed moshpit style of sound I was expecting.
"Think before you speak, before you act, You might think you're invinsible, made of stone, Hell no I'm not afraid to defend my home..."
For What Is Owed You Will Pay In Blood – Here we have the shortest track on the album at 03:06 and it starts out with a very club style of sound to it. Should you not understand what I mean by that, I mean a danceable sound. The overall feel to the track is very high strung and intense. It makes for a great track to dance out some built up anger to; one of the healthier options to releasing aggression. With the constant screaming of lyrics fuelled by anger and hatred, there is only one path this can take you and this is truly an emotional overload, outburst and expelling of some serious angst.
"Prepare for your death, Look in my eyes, This is the man that's making this right, You live through your days, Torturing life..."
Fall Into The Sun – This is the longest track on the album at 04:23 which starts out with some news extracts about animal liberation. Being pro-animal myself, I find this track most intriguing. Possessing a passion can lead to extremities and sometimes lead to unruly behaviour. But life has so many contradictions and to be passionate against animal cruelty and have no one listen in such a free and democratic society is extremely infuriating. This can lead to such ‘unruly behaviour’ but what can one do when no one listens? When justice is not heard, we take justice into our own hands just as we have throughout history. It is always going to be hard to win against the rich inside a realm of capitalism and being in one means many shall suffer. This song screams infuriation. It is telling us to rise up and end this madness.
"Arm up, bats and blades, Pipes and chains for the enemy, Break the locks, Destroy the cage, If it's a war they want, So it's a war we'll wage..."
MXXXXX (2010) – There is no sign of this angst dissipating anytime soon as the screams lead us into this next song. Within this track are some clean, back-up vocals set further back in the track. This doesn’t mean it is any less intense. It is a constant flow of screaming vocals filled with anguish and sorrow. It is what I would refer to as a beautiful torment.
"Never meant to be, You knew all along, You never had the intentions, Eyes made of stone..."
On The Edge Of Winter – This next one starts out with a more melodic approach as strung out as it is. As long as you have the lyrics in front of you, the lyrics are easy enough to follow. However, just listening and not knowing the lyrics is a tad difficult to decipher. The pace in this is upbeat and there is a piano/keyboard keeping the melody flowing. The drums are fairly consistent and well paced. The overall structure to this is an in-your-face intensity with brief stints of milder moments. It’s another good, grief stricken track.
"First to enter, last to leave, I have no fear, I feel no pity, Clouds close in, retreating sunlight, Hell's army is forward marching..."
Anne Boleyn – Here we have the last track on the album and it starts out with a scream followed by some agony fuelled tones. Lyrically, it is loosely based on Greensleeves and Anne Boleyn. Greensleeves is thought to have been composed by Henry VIII, who was relentless in his courtship to Anne Boleyn. The true origin of this composition has never been substantiated. Anne eventually became Henry’s second wife and was unable to produce a male heir. I’m sure you can look this all up for yourself if you’re interested. Overall, the song is heavy, intense, angst ridden and upbeat. Just to clarify things, it doesn’t actually sound like Greensleeves or it would be entitled that, I’m sure. It’s a good track as these all have been.
"Alas, my love, you do me wrong, To cast me off discourteously, For I have loved you well and long, Delighting in your company..."
In essence, Chicago Is Burning has created an intense, angst ridden album which is totally in-your-face and high strung. It will get you moving and help you to release a whole heap of built up aggression. The CD I received is the in-store version and the CD itself along with the front cover bear the same picture of Ashlie draped in the American flag. The CD sleeve has all the lyrics, nicely presented as newspaper articles. There is a picture of Ashlie on the inner front cover along with all the thank you’s. On the back covering is a numbered track listing and recording information. This is a fairly impressive album for a one man band and I urge you all to check it out on the links below.
Chicago Is Burning Myspace
Chicago Is Burning Website
Chicago Is Burning Facebook
Iron Guardian Industries
Review by Déa di Morté © 23 September 2011
All pictures and lyrical extracts courtesy of Chicago Is Burning