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In the 20-year gap between Merle Haggard, Buck Owens, and Korn, what do you do in a place like Bakersfield? Somehow four town mutants found each other and cooked up a stew of punk, goth and more than a bit of hardcore and surfaced briefly as Burning Image.
Jello Biafra was floored by a demo played only once on Maximum Rock n Roll and invited them to open for The Dead Kennedys in San Francisco. An amazing but now rare single followed, then the band disappeared. People who've blundered into the 7" with its stunning songs and Rudimentary Peni/Amebix- caliber artwork have been left wondering, "Who were these guys?"
Now it can be told. All 10 songs from the "Final Conflict" sessions produced by Chaz Ramirez (Adolescents, Social Distortion, Leaving Trains) plus 3 gems recorded later. Especially recommended for fans of TSOL's "Dance With Me" & "Beneath the Shadows" LP's, The Phantom Limbs, 45 Grave, early Christian Death, and the Batcave bands that rocked. A real find and a vital piece of goth/punk history!
"Alternative Tentacles has exhumed this defunct band's recordings from a Californian grave, allowing its goth punk to once again rain down upon hapless punk rockers. Formed in 1983, Burning Image brought teased bangs, heavy eyeliner and lipstick-smeared lips into the punk arena. While other bands were happily dishing out speedy hardcore, Burning Image slowed it down, kept the effusive guitar intact, and added a more melodic foundation to the music, effectively fusing the British Batcave sound with SoCal's '80s-era death rock.
While Killing Joke, 45 Grave and Siouxsie were far more popular names at the time, Burning Image certainly played a role in influencing today's goth punks. This compilation includes the band's impossible-to-find single "The Final Conflict" b/w "Burning Image", along with a slew of other unreleased demos and a few tracks recorded in 2003. Opener "Time is Running Out" begins with the tribal pounding of the tom drums, then unveils a dissonant cacophony of atonal vocals and stressed guitar. It's like a sped-up version of early Birthday Party. "Hives" alternates between throbbing rhythms and squirming breakdowns, while the haunting "Love Mask" sounds like a band of ghouls chanting in unison over gloomy guitar and the dull thud of low bass notes.
A reconstituted Burning Image recently went into the recording studio and created "Gargoyles", "Anytime, Anywhere" and "Temptation". Each new track sounds as inspired as the band's 20 year-old material. As you'd expect, the sound is a lot better than the earlier recordings, but Burning Image pick up right where they left off, delivering a spooky smattering of twisted goth and animated punk.
It's questionable whether Burning Image would have changed the course of musical history, but 1983-1987 is still a great historical document that showcases another side of '80s music. It'll be interesting to see if the band continues writing new material; perhaps they'll make it out on the road to creep out a new generation of punks weaned on AFI and The Alkaline Trio." - Andrew Magilow @ Splendid Magazine