If there’s any band out there that is fierce enough to combine immaculate brutality, Texas heat, and plenty of “oh shit!” moments into one record, it’s Upon a Burning Body with their take on foot-stomping entitled Red. White. Green. These guys have got serious love for their state – more so than a lot of other bands that claim to have real pride – and they go to real lengths to prove it (and being from Texas, I totally see what their angle is).
This record is full of heart-stopping moments, absolutely crushing breakdowns, and believe it not, clean vocals. Crazy right? Before you write them off as trying to conform to a more mainstream sound (or go soft), keep in mind that these clean parts are used to give a few of the songs a new dynamic, rather than simply take the easy way out. In fact, they pull it off so well that I am appreciative of their inclusion. Now if you’re a die-hard fan of their last record The World Is Ours, the only thing that has changed is the lack of gangster/mob movie references. Instead, each song title is a reference to movies by filmmaker Robert Rodriguez (except for “Mimic,” which is by Guillermo del Toro). In terms of a roller-coaster, this album is like a popular ride after it’s been torn down and rebuilt. The same feel is there along with the same twists and turns, but there are a couple new additions to the ride that heighten the experience immensely.
Take the intro “Game Over”. Following right alongside TWIO‘s intro “Showtime,” they literally waste no time getting straight to the point. This band likes to party, and evidently party hard. Vocalist Danny Leal is literally raging the entire course of this record, showing his tasteful disgust for many reasons. As one of the most recognizable and brutal vocalists of the genre, fans won’t be disappointed. Ruben, Sal, CJ, and Ramon each respectively deliver as well, blistering through these 11 songs like nothing. “Sin City” takes off after a gorgeous melodic intro, and from there they set their priorities straight by getting right into the partying. Everything from that song screams familiarity. “Once Upon a Time In Mexico” is just as ruthless, but implementing those clean vocals I mentioned earlier, it sets them up for total success. “Texas Blood Money” is the belligerent brother to “Intermission” from TWIO, but this time they combine their love of Texas as well as their love of booze (Whiskey, specifically). One of those “oh shit!” moments I mentioned is in this song, but they are literally scattered all over this record so you’ll find much more to enjoy.
Next up is another homage to their roots, but in the form of a sidewinder called “El Mariachi.” There are no vocals, no drums, and no bass guitars; just delightful guitar work that not only shows their proud heritage, but also the skill to branch into completely whack territory. You’ll either love or hate this song. Now straying into the latter half of the album, they’ve sobered up so-to-speak and really let out the aggression. “Desperado” is absolutely curb-stompingly insane and features one of the best breakdowns of the album near the end. “Mimic” is less straightforward, but lyrically it touches on religion and uses more of the background clean vocal style from before. This one feels a lot less stable as a whole, and because of that is harder to get into. “Predators” goes hand-in-hard with “Desperado” because it is also a monstrosity of sound, showcasing some of the best instrumental work on the album as well as the best mix of bombastic vocals.
There’s something about this genre that is so hard to keep fresh, maybe it’s the repeated formulas that it’s saturated in, or the larger-than-life sounds that every group tries to emulate. UABB have taken it on themselves to not give a fuck, and it shows. For example, If you want another dish of absurdly heavy cacophony the next track “From Dusk Till Dawn” should get your blood boiling again. “Planet Terror” gets the honorable mention for coolest intro, because if you listen closely there’s a creepy but quiet vocal track under a ping-pong delayed clean guitar track; from there it leads to an absolutely epic song starter meant for a circle pit. Closer “The Island of Lost Dreams” is a blend of everything that has surfaced so far: one part weird chord structure, one part slowness, one part destruction, and one more part soaked in strange melody. It’s one of those songs that will have to grow on you, much like a few of the others on here too. One thing to pay attention too is the lyrics especially, because for such an angry band like UABB, these are the most positive and uplifting lyrics they’ve created. They saved another game changer for the end, and it serves them well (as well as grants them even more respect in my book).
For the typical deathcore fan, there’s plenty cased inside this record to like. You’ll find a healthy balance of everything from the almost-cheesy humor, to the familiarity of anchor-heavy breakdowns and riffage, as well as a little positivity amidst all of the chaos. This is truly a step up for the band, and from the looks of it they’ve got just the right mix of elements to ring in new fans and stun the old ones. As UABB would want, come join the party; you won’t be disappointed.