From the offset, Upon a Burning Body’s latest release, Southern Hostility packs a punch. The eponymous introductory track builds their heavy sound up in a nicely chaotic fashion before a breakdown that somehow manages to sound fresh even a decade after the peak of metalcore.
The band jump unrelentingly into the second track, 'King of Diamond', before a slightly slower buildup to 'All Pride No Pain': two tracks that are set to become staples of the band’s live show. There is a consistently excellent vocal delivery, and strong riffing from the guitars - even if the guitar solo to the latter track feels slightly forced and unneccessary.
The sound is well-produced without it becoming too much; there is very little sacrificing of the music in favour of fancy effects. The playing and overall feel of the album is authentic enough and sure to please fans of heavy music in general, and actually, it comes as a surprise that the band manage not to make the album sound too samey. There are weaker tracks, of course, but somehow the album is listenable to without the listener getting tired of the sound halfway through it.
'Reinventing Hatred' remains a laughably silly song title, and the song is essentially one long metalcore breakdown. Fortunately, the band gets back on track with the synchronised guitar harmony of 'Never Alone', which is reminiscent of Avenged Sevenfold, before delving back into the heavier sound that dominates Upon A Burning Body’s work. The guitar work in this track is interesting to listen to; the first half of the album, particularly 'The Champ is Coming' and 'Burn', is definitely more worthwhile than the second half so far, however.
Despite some negative comments though, Upon A Burning Body have done well with this release. It’s a solid metalcore album with skillful playing and enjoyable riffs throughout. Even the few skipable songs that there are sound like they would be even more intense played live, and it’s a release that fans of the genre should be more than happy with.
Southern Hostility is out June 7th via Seek & Strike Records