Bakersfield's own deathrock originators, Burning Image was subject to an AT "Reissue of Necessity" treatment with the CD collection "1983-1987"
Now, their 1st new album in over 20 years is here, fueled by the gloom and doom of life during wartime and global economic meltdown. 10 songs birthed in this new world of pain = A brilliant return to form from "the band that refused to die."
"They pricked up my ears when I first heard them in '84, toward the tail end of my involvement with Maximum Rock 'n' Roll radio. Hardcore ruled, so more and more of what we got in was pretty generic...The one time MRR played a demo of "Final Conflict" I was floored. I had to hear more, they obliged, not one weak track on the whole tape. I then invited them up to San Francisco to open for Dead Kennedys, the Butthole Surfers and M.I.A. They brought their own cobwebs and played their ownsound. No one in California was doing quite what they were. ...Then as quickly as they appeared they were gone. People who chanced on the 7" over the years, with its near-Amebix/Peni-caliber artwork were left wondering, 'who were these guys?' ... In England they might have fit right in with the Bat Cave scene. It wasn't called Goth quite yet, the British music press had the gall to call it "positive punk". What drew me to Burning Image was they had the punk teeth most of the Bat Cave bands lacked. But how did this happen in Bakersfield?" - Jello Biafra
"Originally disbanding in the late '80s, Bakersfield California's Burning Image returns with a new record of classic-sounding death rock. While there is a certain garishness about the reunited Burning Image, it's clear that they take seriously and love the genre. Unlike some of their contemporaries and influences, Burning Image stays true to a classic punk / post-punk style of death rock, a style that was eclipsed by the advent of goth and industrial. Their early recordings are a rich document of the genre's earlier years and they stand out because of their excursions into hardcore-even if these excursions were more flirtations than anything else. Their hardcore leanings inevitably warrant comparison to Dance With Me / Weathered Statues-era TSOL, but the influence of Christian Death, Killing Joke, X, The Gun Club, and Specimen can be heard clearly, interwoven to create some really enjoyable songs. Fantasma builds on this template of their earlier recordings, at least musically (no lyrics included). It has the same variety, with a hardcore-ish tune ("Mr. Dark"), Gun Club / Flesheaters-style tunes, essential nods to Christian Death, and a measure of Killing Joke-inspired songwriting (especially "The Chosen One"). The vocals reference Patrick Mata, Rozz Williams, and Jack Grisham, but it's the occasional invocation of Jaz Coleman that excites me the most. Although Burning Image is comparable to the aforementioned bands, it's important to remember that they were more or less their peers. Burning Image manages to pull from these influences without being derivative of any one. They are a distinguished and essential piece of death rock history, and Fantasma only seems to build on this legacy." - Maximumrocknroll #319
"In the early '80s, Burning Image appeared on the California punk scene with a death rock sound that flew in the face of a scene that was becoming heavily loaded with hardcore. With their dark, raw lyrics and heavy instrumentation, they were like an American Bauhaus, spinning a web of goth punk that was very thick and hefty. Now, with Fantasma, the band is back with their first new album in over 20 years, and it's readily apparent that they really haven't lost their edge. What you won't find on this album is the overly theatrical melodrama that plagues too many goth bands, the makeup and lace that can easily change a band from dark to silly. In its place are 10 tracks that are thick, heavy and dark. Exhibiting the layered, experimental guitar noise that Bauhaus and a few other of Burning Image's contemporaries utilized, it's a sound that has been resurrected from a darker era of music, and it still sounds fresh... Powered by the current state of affairs - a country at war and suffering from a dismal economy -Fantasma paints a bleak picture of the world, and I'll be quite surprised if some large chunk of bands don't begin to appear with a similar sound. Death rock may have peaked many years ago, but it's due for a resurgence on the scene, and with their reappearance, Burning Image will lead the way." - about.com
"This Bakersfield, California quartet has risen from the crypt with a bleak, thunderous sonic maelstrom almost three decades after their start in 1983. Fantasma is gripping from the beginning – the gruesome grooves of "I Am Alive" crash in with the crunch of Tony Bonnano's angular, chromatic guitar-driven melodies and Moe Adame's pointed wails. This is frighteningly good. The real deal. You can hear and feel the difference between Burning Image and the young crop of self-conscious devotees to this sound in the band's unflinchingly earnest approach to brooding, bleeding intensity. As Jello Biafra quips in the liner notes for 1983-1987 (a compilation of Burning Image's classic tracks), 'They brought their own cobwebs and played their own sound.' Evidently, nothing has changed." - Big Takeover