Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Burning Ghats—Something Other Than Yourself (self-released)

I'd like to think the title is aimed at the oblivious majority—the people who never look up, lost in their handheld pseudo-realities. Burning Ghats are all about confrontation. If they don’t want to destroy the passer-by, they definitely want to give him/her a good wake-up slap. This Vancouver hardcore/metal/grind quartet have pinned me against the back wall many times with their incredible live show. Afterwards, I’m left with thoughts along the lines of “What the hell just hit me?” rather than “hmm, the tempo change in the second song was kind of cool” or other such musical musings. With a 7-inch already to their name, this EP-length 12-inch (mine's on gruesome grey vinyl) has now arrived. The record provokes the same gut reaction that their gigs do, but it's allowed me to appreciate the band on a new, deeper level. The recording is punishing, the songs are cathartic and harrowing. Recorded at The Hive with Jesse Gander and mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege, they certainly worked with the right people. The ten tracks vary in length and tempo, but not in intensity. The tense, drum-led trudge of “Cold People” sets a forbidding mood before “Hexes” blows it all apart with blasting, double-kicked fury. There’s little time to breathe between the relentless series of tracks that follow. “Grief Ritual” blasts by in 21 seconds. “Carry the Head” shudders and howls with pure horror. “Gold Sores” oozes forth over six minutes, and closes the album with sheets of ominous, macabre sound via guest contributors Night Mother. As a purely indie release, Something Other Than Yourself stands impressively on its own, although fans of Baptists and the rest of Southern Lord’s hardcore roster need to hear this now.

Burning Ghats' record release show is Friday, November 22 at the Astoria in Vancouver.

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