Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Fire on the Plains - 'Burning All Bridges'

Botch-style technical hardcore assault? Check. Funny song titles? Triple-check, thanks to “Mia Wallace Foot Massage,” “Lisa Turtle Bukakee,” and the simply titled “Burt Reynolds.” Movie samples? Let’s just say Marsellus Wallace stops by, and he’s “pretty fucking far from OK.” California four-piece Fire on the Plains’ Burning All Bridges is a perfectly conceived EP, delivering five pummeling assaults (plus a rockin’ bonus track) one after another. Running 17 minutes, it cuts out before the formula gets stale.

“Mia Wallace Foot Massage” kicks off the EP, and from the end of its Pulp Fiction sample to the end of the CD, shit gets kicked around. The M.O. is pretty clear: The guitars go from crushing to squealing while the vocals are consistently screamed. The style isn’t necessarily anything innovative, but it’ll still get metalheads where they need to go.

Not that it matters much when the songs are playing, but the band does show a brief glimmer of depth lyrically. “Navaho Joe’s Last Dance” discusses white oppression of minorities in America, specifically Native Americans circa New World colonialism and Japanese-Americans circa World War II. It’s a random political thought on an EP that otherwise traffics in hardcore clichés. Line after line condemns the listener for being a jerk. “How can you stand to look at yourself, the subtleties you thought that nobody pick up on,” asks “Burt Reynolds,” while “Mia Wallace” is angry about “you dictating what’s best for me.” “Lisa Turtle Bukakke” might get a laugh for its title, but the lyrics take a hateful turn when a love interest torments the protagonist like “a walrus trapped in the clutches of the polar bear.” It’s not exactly hateful towards women, but it does come off a little emotionally stunted, and that’s coming from a guy who spins Nothing Gold Can Stay for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

But the topics are easy to ignore, because, hey, I have no idea what the fuck the band is saying without a cheat sheet. In the moment, Burning All Bridges is a promising thrasher.

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