When a metalcore album starts out and makes me think of the first SINISTER record, I'm gonna sit up and take notice. Unfortunately, it only happens for the first few seconds, but the heavy synths laid atop crushing start-stop rhythms lay the groundwork for a surprisingly solid and very satisfying debut album.
The quick tagline for "Angel Maker" could be "metalcore, only more so". All the elements of the genre are on display here — rapid-fire precision drumming, clean vocals in the choruses, busy and chunky Swede-influenced riffing. But it all shines with an intensity that manages to surprise, blasting through the glut of this scene and, if not setting the world afire with originality, at least delivering their songs with a conviction and skill that elevates them above the hordes.
The keyboards that tricked me at the beginning are pretty prevalent throughout "Angel Maker", adding a bit of extra texture to the songs. "Embrace the Plague" gets almost black metal in a few points, and tosses in a few SLAYER trills in the process, then throws in a chorus so candy-coated it could have come from a RAUNCHY record. This many elements in the space of the first two minutes of one song might be overkill to some, but given the choice between overstrained ambition and rote convention, I'll take the former every day.
This is definitely short-attention-span metal — these guys know their way around death metal, metalcore, hardcore, and every other element they tear off and throw, bleeding, into their sonic stew. It takes some chops to be this schizophrenic and still sound convincing, and they do. Not every second of every song is essential, but the whole thing holds together very well, and there are enough "holy shit" moments to keep all but the most jaded listener interested.
Of course, some will hear that first melodic chorus and turn off "Angel Maker", dismissing BURN IN SILENCE as poseurs without giving them a chance. Your loss. This is a damn fine debut album, and should give these guys a running start into evolving into a pretty important band.