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April 30, 2020 2 min read

Written by: Anthony Pappalardo

1990. Revelation Records released five 7”s that year and one LP, perfectly balanced by half heritage, half new(ish). Judge and Youth of Today represented tradition as much as Inside Out, Quicksand, Burn, and the pleasant anomaly, Supertouch loosened the knots and rewired things. Burn specifically brought a unique blend of fire and fusion, pounding the pavement like a demo-era Cro-Mags and locking into bouncy beats and drifts often in the same song. 

 

Building off the drive and rhythmic dynamics of guitarist Gavin Van Vlack’s prior outfit, Absolution, Alan Cage (Beyond, Quicksand), Alex Napack (Pressure Release), and green vocalist Chaka Malik Harris were able to move the NYHC needle into the red from the EP’s first note. Beneath the crunch, stunt pilot dynamics, and sonic sermons delivered aplomb by Chaka, is Burn’s secret sauce: swing. Even at their most frenetic, the entire band exuded a calm and cool that made the unpredictable feel even more seismic with every shift. 

 

The four tracks weave and bob, offering a fresh take on hardcore that some tagged “metal” despite the single not sharing any DNA with the genre other than loud guitars and rhythmic bravado. One has to wonder if anyone who subscribed to that observation made it to side two, where “Drown” and its break draw more from Joni Mitchell than Tony Iommi but also, there is some Sabbath pissing in the gene pool. 


From its tracks to the tell don’t show aesthetics of their debut on Revelation Records, Burn’s 7” channeled the energy of a time, place, vibe, and unknown. More importantly, had Van Vlack stayed in Orange County, California to play with an unnamed outfit fronted by Dan O’Mahoney (No For An Answer, Carry Nation, 411, Speak 714), the whole shit might have never happened. Maybe the Golden State was too perfect and concrete discipline forged freedom. Drop the needle, there’s no time to think about that. We’re “standing on the brink of disaster.”

(original layout for the s/t Burn 7" Jacket)

(Photograph and notes for the image that would go one to be used for the cover)


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