Back in 2017 Burning Shadows unleashed power and might aplenty, unveiling a tour de force of American power metal in their third full length Truth in Legend (2017). Having since lost lead guitarist and founding member Greg Jones, they aim now to prove all that power was no mere fluke as they drop the riff packed bomb that is fresh EP Beneath the Ruins. Straight up, these guys know their way around a massive soundscape, furious throes of riffs and just straight up powerful heavy damn metal. The EP consists of five newly penned tracks of fist pumping, double bass peddling, riff galloping heavy power metal rockers, as well as live versions of two older songs. Blacken the Sky opens the EP in full force, dropping the old school heavy riffing and fast paced rhythm gallop, and some powerful shouts from vocalist Tom Davy.
That is, unfortunately, about as interesting as the EP gets; while it does carry a bit of that old school fun, it never really grips you like Burning Shadows have been known to. While the opening act has all that intensity to light up the iron, the songwriting stagnates fairly quickly as the riffwork becomes an affair of sameness throughout most of the rest of the EP. It’s certainly a listenable record and a well presented and produced EP, packing its own little punch here and there, but the fury and the passion that permeated the previous full length isn’t really present. The rhythm section gets bogged down and identical throughout the runtime, never really doing anything of interest but just laying the groundwork for the lead guitar and Davy’s vocals. And Davy is a quality vocalist with some massive cojones to his deep style and gravelly shrieks, but with the slightly subdued style presented he never gets to belt the war cries of former glory.
The best tracks on here are the first and the last (not counting the live songs); Blacken the Sky and The Shadow from the Steeple. These are the examples of Burning Shadows doing what they do best - namely furious, hard and passionate heavy power metal. The riffs get crunchy and Davy channels his inner darkness to grate some cheese on top of the heaviness. Especially the latter, where the songwriting really gets interesting, with lots of twists and turns in the lead work and a delicious unity in Davy’s vocals slapping on top of the dark rhythm section. That right there is a perfect example of how Burning Shadow’s massive quality can make them such a tour de force in their area, when they really get inspired. It’s too bad the rest of the EP is really just the basic experience and little else.
Standout tracks: Blacken the Sky, The Shadow from the Steeple