Burning’s “Scourge of Humanity”

“Scourge of Humanity” by Burning

My good friends at Hard n Heavy always come through for me. Just when I start to need my fix for some heavy music in my diet, it’s almost like clockwork or fate that I end up getting the insider track on some awesome new indie music to review from them. And with this album review today, it was exactly what I was itching for.

Burning is a band from “North of the Netherlands” as described on their Spotify page. As we continue to hard charge into what is still early 2022, Burning has officially released their first full length album since 2016’s “Nightmares” entitled “Scourge of Humanity.” A release comprised of 8 riffing, old school, no bullshit heavy metal songs.

That’s not to say they haven’t been releasing music and keeping busy since then. To the contrary, the band has been quite active dating back to their debut in 2014 with “Something Lurking in the Dark,” a music video that has now eclipsed 400,000 views on YouTube. Their catalog also consists of 2018’s EP “P.I.D. Files” (an interestingly unique concept album surrounding the rumored death of Paul McCartney), 2020’s “Evil in Disguise” single, and a pair of singles in 2021 that have ended up also being included on the new album, one of them ultimately being this album’s title track (“Scourge of Humanity”). Add in some lineup changes and some incredible opportunities to share the stage with artists like Diamond Head (plus many more) along the way… and indeed, Burning have kept themselves busy.

Band Logo

The band is a 5 piece with Hugo Koch on vocals, Renee Knegt and Harm Ten Hoove on guitars, Mas Prevoo on Drums, and Daan v/d Craats on bass. The process in which “Scourge” was written credits the band collectively as writing all the music. Hugo and Ellen Koch-Withaar wrote all the lyrics (with the exception of “Black Pope” – penned by John Janssen). The album features guests Dennis Stratton performing the ripping guitar solo on “Bodyfarm” starting at the 3:08 mark of the song, and Rita Bakker contributing epic vocal harmonies and backups on “Follow the Crowd.”

Black Pope” was a great way to kick off the album, I feel like it sets the tone right from the start for what you are about to get. My initial first impression was that I couldn’t believe how much Hugo’s voice was reminiscent of Ozzy to me. Tone-wise sure somewhat, but Hugo incorporates his own character and personal touch with his voice very well. Most importantly, what I truly was impressed with, was how much Hugo embodies the spirit and vibe that only a few vocally melodic singers have been capable of doing with heavy music. It enhances the music in such a way that it just sounds huge.

The album continues momentum with “Keep Me Safe” showcasing excellent guitar work right off the bat with an intro that reminds me of an NES boss stage and rolls right into a driving old school thrash feel right before the verses kick into their signature sound. “Leatherface,” which might actually be my personal favorite on the album (and which I added to the station’s featured playlist “Indie Anarchy“), features mean guitar tones, evil whammy bar riddled guitar leads, and dark lyrics (e.g. “He wears his victims well”). Almost a bit doomy.

Lyrically, I would call out the title track “Scourge of Humanity” as the track with my favorite lyrics. Once again the band intros with something similar to what you’d hear at the beginning of “Hell Awaits” or something like that, but then quickly culminates into a melodic melting pot of thrash and/or traditional heavy metal. Lyrically, the writer struggles to be understood, struggles to wrestle with his own mental demons, and that was something that resonated with me. With powerful presence, Hugo emphatically wails, “you don’t see my suffering, you don’t feel the pain I’m in, you don’t know the things I dream about,” and “everyone’s forsaken me, no hears me when I scream out loud.”

Before you ever even realize that you’ve listened to 6 out of 8 tracks on the album, it finishes strong with the final two tracks “Taking Out The Trash” a fast paced thrasher, and the anthemic “You Are Invited.” In today’s music industry, if you are going to make a full album, that’s exactly how it needs to feel. Every track is strong enough to keep the listener engaged all the way through. If you are into traditional old school heavy metal or thrash, this album is definitely something that you can put on and enjoy from beginning to end.

“Scourge of Humanity” album art

I am a fan of and write about lots of different genres of music, if you would like read more about bands similar to Burning, I recommend checking out my reviews of these indie artists:

Hyperiff // Noord // Hysterical Blindness // Flavio Brandao Stratosphere Project

Check out our radio station’s featured Spotify playlist, “Indie Anarchy”

“Indie Anarchy” on Apple Music

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