Review: Burnt City – Resurgence

A growing trend has been the increasing number of what can be dubbed “supergroup” metal albums, where a single songwriter gathers up as many big name guest stars as possible, and creates an event album. The trend probably started with Avantasia and Ayreon, but has seen more and more jumping on, because the bigger the roster of known names, the easier it is for a project to garner some attention.

Burnt City is one of these projects, founded by Australian guitarist Aydin Zahedi. Zahedi gathered a steady line-up featuring a Brazilian singer Gus Monsanto, keyboardist Bob Katsionis, drummer George Kollias, and bassist Mike Lepond.

Burnt City’s take is one of modern progressive power metal, the kind that does away with all the hokey qualities that lead people to call it ‘flower metal’, instead focusing on heavy guitars and chunky riffs. The music here isn’t as technical as Nevermore was, but it’s in the same spirit. In fact, the instrumentals are the best part of this album. The brain-trust that put this together known how to play, and they have a good ear for writing power metal that is at the heavier end of the spectrum. It has that typical modern sound, but it’s one that is rarely well-utilized in power metal, so it’s good to hear it done properly.

Monsanto is truly a star here; he does indeed feels as a frontman, putting his powerful voice to a maximum use. I don’t know what the creative process behind the album was, so I can’t say whether it’s a case of a single writer (Zahedi) who wasn’t well versed in how to write for different voices, or if each singer came up with their own parts and didn’t put in the effort, but the vocal parts throughout the record are simply lacking. From one track to the next, regardless of who is singing, there aren’t the hooks necessary to sell this music. The singers themselves put in fine performances, but the material is weak.

The bottom line with “Resurgence” is that it’s one of those albums that has a lot of potential. Being an early release of the year put it at risk, but it’s certainly a record that has so much to offer.

“Resurgence” is available from iTunes here.

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