13 Burning – Unholy EP
Release Date: 14/08/2020
Running Time: 25:00
Review by Beth Jones
Well, it’s Wednesday! Or ‘hump day’ as some call it (stop snickering at the back, it means it’s the hump of the week, and once you’re through it, you’re on the way to the weekend)! And what better way is there to make it through a humpy Wednesday, than with a bit of metal? None, my good people! None at all!!
This evenings listening is presented by Oxford based NWOBHM band, 13 Burning, in the shape of their recently released debut EP “Unholy”. Formed in 2014, their mission is to combine the traditional sounds of classic heavy metal, with storytelling of mythology, war, and witchcraft.
The EP opens with the title track and gives us everything you would expect from a classic NWOBHM band. Face melting riffs, slightly edgy vocals with perfect Shakespearean diction, a great steady 4/4 beat, and a booming bass line. It’s like bish bash bosh, meat and two veg, heavy metal. And there is not a single thing wrong with that. It takes me back to the good old days, when hair was flowing, boots were cowboy, and everything was double denim clad. And not a pair of rose-tinted glasses in sight!
We’re treated to some awesome musicianship on this release too – a notable example is the ripping solo in track 2 ‘Wings Of A Dream’, which really brings that song to life.
Track 3, ‘Day Of Reckoning’ begins in theatrical fashion; spoken word with a ton of echo, backed up by some eerie and ethereal sound effects. I think this is actually my favourite track. It’s got a slower pace which helps to show off vocalists Dan Abrams pipes really well, and hints at how they can diversify their sound from the traditional. Saying that, it does kind of remind me of the more drug induced tracks that appeared back when peace and love were a thing…just with more riffage!
The final track, ‘Valhala’, again starts in a more slow, lamenting style, with Dan’s vocals sitting atop the mix. Lyrically, it’s pretty poetic, too. Completely in keeping with their mission. And this track is a close second for my favourite track. It’s a biggy, at over 8 minutes long, but has a sharp change of pace in the middle, taking us back to the comfortable groove of classic metal! By the way, unless you by the CD, you won’t hear this track, because it’s a bonus track only on the physical copy. And the lesson here is BUY MERCH AND BUY PHYSICAL COPIES!!!!! Stream, shmeam!!!! Heathens!!! Anyway, where was I?…
Ah yes! “Unholy”, as a debut EP, is a sound footing for 13 Burning to start out with. It’s not ground-breaking, but as a first tentative step into the world of having the balls to put your tunes onto a shiny circle of coated plastic for all to hear, it’s pretty worthy. There are a couple of itchy teething problems that could probably do with ironing out to take them to the next level. The mix is a little muddy in places, and the balance of instruments isn’t always right. But that almost gives it the authentic NWOBHM feel. So, you have to make a call. If it’s ‘perfection’ in the modern day that you seek, then maybe check go out some Ed Sheeran. But if you want proper no nonsense British Heavy Metal, then you could do a lot worse than looking these guys up. I think 13 Burning have a lot more to give (hence my score) and I very much look forward to hearing where they go next.
02. Wings Of A Dream
03. Day Of Reckoning
Dan Abrams – Vocals
Phill Millward – Guitars
Sarah Thompson – Bass
Steve Kearley – Drums
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