Connecticut melodic black/folk metal project Burden has released one of the most interesting EPs of 2023 with MMXXII. This an album with a complete disregard for musical boundaries and a level of energy that feels like the audio equivalent of a manic episode.
The EP features three tracks that blend a wide variety of influences ranging from black metal to folk and elements of bluegrass. Each track features these elements, both overlapping and interchangeably. One moment you’ll be listening to tremolo picking and blast beats and then next it will be a Eastern European style accordion solo and group folk singing, before randomly hitting you with a bluegrass style segment. Strewn across all of it are rabid shrieked black metal vocals with a raspy edge rapidly firing Polish lyrics.
The main thing that I enjoy about this album is just how fun it is, it does whatever it wants, whenever it wants and that free spirit permeates every element of the album. There are a million black metal bands that try to be evil or dangerous and many of them succeed, but it’s refreshing to see an artist make music that simply allows the listener to have a good time. Not only that but the project managed to create an album that’s unlike anything else that I’ve heard.
The opening track Reĝino de la Nokto is by far the most diverse, taking the listener on a wild and unpredictable sonic journey. It features the most traditional black metal elements on the album, as well as the only purely folk influenced elements and clean singing culminating in an incredibly catchy chorus. Most importantly in my opinion though it showcases an amazing bluegrass style pedal steel led segment that has no business whatsoever being on this album, yet I’m incredibly glad that it is.
The second track Lipka Zielona is a unique take on a Polish folk song and features a few less element than the opener but maintains a constant level of energy, an impressively fast pace and even more furious accordian work. There’s some extremely catchy melodies on display here and I’ve found myself humming them after each listen. You’ll also find some truly impressive guitar work in the last 15 seconds of the track. The third and final track on the album Гей, соколи feels as if its the most fast paced of the lot despite being the same speed as track 2 and happens to also be a fresh take on a Polish/Ukrainian folk tune. From start to finish this song bombards the listener with an unrelenting stream of accordion driven music, programmed drums and rabid shrieked vocals.
Overall this is a fantastic EP and one that really stood out to me as a unique offering in the black metal world. I’m not usually that big on folk metal but in this case I feel as if it works perfectly. I have to thank Fiadh Productions for putting me onto this one and for putting it out into the world.
Listen to and order the album: