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Burnt by the Sun 

Soundtrack to the Personal Revolution (Relapse)

Burnt by the Sun doesn't seem like much at first. Its blend of hardcore, thrash, and grind stays right within the parameters of "extreme" metal as it's been practiced since Napalm Death's Scum exploded across the metal landscape 15 years ago. At times, these players go real fast, with no regard for melodic integrity or any riff more complex than an up-and-down pummel. At others, they throw some hip-swivel into the mix and occasionally slow down to the speed of Sick of It All -- or some other coterie of thick-necked New York hardcore mooks -- to better articulate their alienation.

At odd moments, though, there come genuine surprises: a riff that's slightly off-center, a guitar solo that sounds like a video game gone berserk. And over the 30-minute duration of this disc, those little flashes of individuality start to add up to a portrait of a fairly original band. Listening to these guys exploring the outer limits of hardcore/grindcore, one can only hope that the audience for this type of music is as amenable to sonic surprises as the band members are. Given the success of such avant-leaning outfits as Botch and Dillinger Escape Plan, though, Burnt by the Sun oughta do just fine.

More by Phil Freeman

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