A real surprise packet

With my limited knowledge of Indonesian metal, I would hazard a guess that Burgerkill are somewhere near the top of the tree.

Four albums into a fifteen year career and these Javanese lads have delivered something equal to anything you’d find coming out of just about anywhere.

Venomous isn’t reinventing the wheel and is not the most original album you’ll ever hear — they wear their influences prominently — but at the same time it is also something right out of the box. Ordinarily I would suggest that any band trying a mix of early Sepultura-style thrash, Morbid Angel, commercial metalcore and dashes of electronica would be doomed to fail, but not these guys. Somehow, they’ve managed to pull it off and do it very well.

Intro track “Through the Tunnel” incorporates snatches of techno to the point where I first thought I’d put in the wrong CD by mistake, but then “Age of Versus” erupts with a Beneath the Remains style attack and things only get better from there. The next three tracks all exhibit a furious, well-directed death-tinged thrash assault with enormous drums, mighty riffs and the versatile vocals of Vicky who allows himself some melodic singing in between burst of bellowing growls but never goes too far with it; I’d hesitate to call it “clean” singing the way it’s come to be known these days.

Then, in the middle of the album they plunge into an amazing, beautiful acoustic instrumental called “This Coldest Heart”. The shift is stark and dramatic, leading into the ominous opening of “For Victory”, a melodic metalcore track that could sit comfortably alongside something by Shadows Fall. Then comes the hugely grooving “My Worst Enemy” that ends by dropping the album’s biggest unexpected turn as the band breaks into about a minute and a half of something that’s almost jazzy. But the surprises keep coming with the hidden track “An Elegy”, a Killswitch-like metalcore song complete with strings that sounds like a totally different band. To top it all off it comes with stellar production and in a neat digipak with stylish, understated artwork.

Burgerkill has delivered a real surprise packet here, and with local distribution through Perth’s Firestarter, Venomous is the perfect introduction to this chameleon-like band. An excellent release.

1. Into the Tunnel
2. Age of Versus
3. Under the Scars
4. Through the Shine
5. House of Greed
6. This Coldest Heart
7. For Victory
8. My Worst Enemy
9. Only the Strong