Sound — 8
The Burning of Rome began modestly as Adam Traub's recording project in a laundry room in Oceanside, CA. It rapidly outgrew the four-track tape recorder on which it was born and demanded his complete devotion, as well as some talented extra musical hands, to bring it to life. This quintet has conjured a sonic palate replete with everything from death pop bliss, galactic rock, gypsy punk cabaret, to indie spaghetti western, and are now poised to harken the masses with the release of their forthcoming effort, "Year of The Ox."
"Year of the Ox" weaves the three concepts of art, rebellion and life into a cascading aural braid. Each song, disguised by infectious pop hooks and provocative allusions to historical lore, elicits an intensely moving account of Traub's interpretation of the human experience.
Male and female vocals on this album range widely and would be welcome at any hard rock club, indie cafe, or classical performance, even if Adam's voice is being squeezed through a stack of Nord synthesizers ("God of Small Things," "Echo Park"), as if a robot from space is responding to a transmission from David Bowie's "Ziggy Stardust."
The album is produced by the legendary Paul Leary (U2, Melvins, Sublime, Meat Puppets) who was appointed controls alongside co-captain Adam Traub. Adam describes Leary's Sonic Ranch as a "veritable museum of rock and roll artifacts with some of the rarest recording gear on the planet." Several guest drummers - Josh Freese (A Perfect Circle/NIN), Dale Crover (Melvins/Nirvana) and Matt Chamberlain (Pearl Jam/Of Montreal) dropped by to beat sticks and blow minds.
Overall the sound of this album is just massive, lush, gritty, and pristine, and I am genuinely impressed at how everything was conjured into this mad-house blend of genres. Even though each song sounds completely different than the next, The Burning of Rome know how to make uniformity out of it all and give you an intriguing and mesmerizing release, "Year of The Ox."
Lyrics — 8
Vocal performance on the album is exactly what I'd expect from this talented group. Adam and Aimee are masters of style and can change from giving us anything from an opera piece introduction ("Terrible Tales From Tocqueville"), goth rock ("God of Small Things"), a nod to Danny Elfman ("Space Age Stockholm Syndrome"), to even '90s grunge rock not unlike Pearl Jam (bonus track "Animal"). Most of the time you will hear Aimee harmonizing with Adam, but on "God of Small Things," it's really nice to hear them both interchanging leads and adds a unique dynamic to the track.
Lyrics are at the very least intriguing and thought provoking. Adam gives us a world view about human origins, slapping tales of sin on the modern age, life lessons from old tales, and some of it is corky enough that I could compare it to anything Frank Black has written about sex, religion, and other thoughts on the bizarre human psyche.
Overall Impression — 8
Overall the sound of this album is just massive, lush, gritty, and pristine, and I am genuinely impressed at how everything was conjured into this mad-house blend of genres. My favorite tracks are "God Of Small Things," "Space Age Stockholm Syndrome," and "Echo Park." This album is everything I wanted Burning of Rome to be since their 2012 album, "With Us," which gives the listener a peak at where they have come from. "Year Of The Ox" hones the skills achieved on the previous album and I expect greater for the future. Even though each song sounds completely different than the next, The Burning of Rome know how to make uniformity out of it all and give you an intriguing and mesmerizing release.