Awe, the golden age of metalcore: a time where fashion was big and huge (18 Visions and Orange County, California), skinny jeans were actually girls jeans, and most subtlety was non-existent, as bands wrote poems as songs in their vain attempts to show that their was brains behind their supposed brawn. A random genre created and still expanded upon to this day; a genre much loved and maligned by many people that it took a few death metal stalwarts and a humorous disposition to create a band that ultimately would become one of the shining examples of it?
Burnt By The Sun started in 1999 by the ever goddamn amazing drummer known as Dave Witte (too many bands to list), his buddy John Adubato on guitar, Mike Olender on Vocals (Played bass for a hot minute in Nora, remember them?), and bassist Ted Patterson (Human Remains). They released a split with the amazing Luddite Clone and a 3 song S/T EP with the awesome song called ” You Will Move” before signing to the major league extreme record label Relapse to release the album we will discuss: “Soundtrack to the Personal Revolution” in 2002.
So…it is 15 years, now that I realize it, typing this here description, and this album is still a benchmark for me a watershed moment: a much needed example of music and musicianship. I will provide an example for this musicianship, this extreme versatility and much needed showing that the game was stepped up by posting the first song on the goddamn album, titled “Dracula with Glasses“:
Specifically, listen to the music from 0:35 to 0:48. Do it, and realized that your music and practice of it means nothing compared to the musicianship in that time, as the band moves from blast beats to more blast beats to having the snare roll, sounding like the music is going to fall apart, but it isn’t. That is the sound of your balls receding in to your body from the kick it just received. That is the sound of a band that knows what the fuck it is doing, and your brain melting to nothing, your body realizing you will never be as good as that.
But that 13 seconds is literally the entire album. It just doesn’t end. It doesn’t let up, this kick. It is the heaviest boot you ever felt, as the you start to realize the entire album is a soundtrack to revolution, the song titles being clever puns, and the lyrics having more heft than your shitty favorite new “-core” band could ever write, even if your lyricist was a scholar of Shakespeare, Joyce, and Proust rolled in to one. Song titles like “Dow Jones and the Temple of Doom,” “Shooter McGavin,” “The Boston Tea Bag Party,” and “Don Knotts” just make you wonder how they work, then you fucking listen to the lyrics.
The lyrics fucking destroy. Everything you were taught about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, gone. In an instant, as your brain feels and suddenly notices that the lyrics have meaning and connect with the songs. That the lyrics “I don’t care/I don’t care/No reason at all for me to waste my time/None” at the end of “Shooter McGavin” fit. You notice this. You start to call for arms, for revolution to be there, as you finally hear, at the end of the song “Human/Steamroller” the lyrics “Forty hours a week/and nothing to show/forty hours a week/and nowhere to grow,” you finally snap.
You are destruction incarnate. You must change. You must fix this shit that is life. Everything you thought is mundane, and you realize it is everything, and that it really means nothing. There is no tomorrow, there is now, and what was then is past. Tomorrow is yours and every minute is fleeting, but needs you.
That is this album. That is the entire thing. It is kick in the nuts, and a fire under your ass, all to change who you are, and it is all set to music that is violent, awesome, aggressive, and needed. And that is what you need. This is not music you listen to, but you hear every facet and use it to change you, your life, and your thinking. You hear this album and you know: you will move. And that is why it is fucking amazing. That is why this album has stood the test of time, and sounds fresh today as it did 15 years ago. That is why this is essential and is needed and if you don’t know of this band or this album, you are part of the problem, not the solution.
And you end the day with this: