With the intense attitude and spite of a behemoth wasp comes the return of the Montreal eight legged riff machine Barn Burner with their second album “Bangers II: Scum Of The Earth” on Metal Blade Records. The album attacks with a vengeance as the Canadian quartet deliver sounds that scuzzily buzz relentlessly, stinging deeply in the ear whilst slapping hard with a colossal wall of power. The new release continues the bands inspired mix of influences and styles but delivers it with a meatier sound and production lined with a dirty and forceful inclination that has even more purpose and direction.
Describing the band’s sound is not a precise thing as they cross genres and decades with their variation of rock, grabbing the best of genres over the ages and distilling it into their own perfectly warped flavoured moonshine. Take a little old school from the likes of Sabbath, stir in some Corrosion of Conformity and Gruntruck, whilst spicing it up with a dash of Dead Child and The Sword and there is an idea of their familiar but distinct rampaging sound. Wrapped in a stoner bludgeoning delivery steeped in some Zico Chain fuzz punk and the result you get is Barn Burner.
Opening track to the album, ‘Scum Of The Earth’, is the perfect start and notice of what is to come. High on driving riffs and rock/thrash energy, its pace is unstoppable and one of the more straight forward tracks sounds wise. Placed more in their earlier influences it still has a freshness in attack and music that marks it out as notably relevant as something new. That is the bands skill that they hold over most others walking the same musical road, they have the ability to take older sounds and instincts but convert them into a current and valid sound. They may not be ground breaking but they certainly are one of the most prominent and leading purveyors of crossover rock ‘n’ roll.
We get into the meat of “Bangers II: Scum Of The Earth” with the next track up, ‘Dark Side Of The Barn’. Heavier and more punishing than the opener it also throws in some neat variants such as some impetuous thrash metal running loose alongside wild guitar solos from Cameron Noakes all coated in their oppressive stoner weighted sound. A great track that leads into a similarly constructed batch of satisfying songs including the constant chugging glory of ‘Gate Creeper’ which catches the listener off guard with its keyboard finish, the chant vocal glory led imperiously by Kevin Keegan of the single ‘Keg, Stand And Deliver’, and ‘Brother Fear’ fuelled by a perfect drum attack from Taylor Freund eagerly prompted by Nick Ball and his throbbing basslines, and some impressive guitar solos and sounds.
The whole of “Bangers II: Scum Of The Earth” is a wonderful package of songs, with not one moment a glaringly weak addition, the consistency from the band is at worse solid and at best, as in the albums finest moment ‘Skids Marks The Spot‘, a chuggathon of Anthrax like enormity, pure pleasure. Produced by Adrian Popovich who also worked their first album, this release has a dynamic intensity that though from the first note to the dying last never lessens its intense aural attack it also never wears thin or loses any of its intriguing interest. As mentioned Barn Burner do not drive a new direction for rock music but they sure give food for thought and sounds to inspire others as well as an album that is simply hard to turn off.