WE’D RATHER BURN [EP]
Release: October 20, 2018
“When you hear the following tune
You'll know that I'll be with you”
Dutch alternative / gothic rockers Blackbriar have recently released their second EP, titled “We’d Rather Burn”, which comes after last year’s wonderful debut with the EP “Fractured Fairytales”. Again financed through a successful crowdfunding campaign, “We’d Rather Burn” sees the band delivering five intense and highly atmospheric songs, with some eerie vibes to them because of Zora Cock’s ethereal vocals and dramatic backing orchestration.
First single release, “I’d Rather Burn”, starts off the EP with the crackling of fire, some delicate piano notes, sober cello lines, and Zora singing “I'd rather go to the stake / I'd rather go to the stake / I'd rather burn, oh I'd rather burn / I'd rather burn at the stake”. Yep, things get dark and dramatic pretty early on.
I’d rather burn
Let me in
Stone cold body
Cry of a Banshee
Arms of the Ocean
Rising in intensity as the song progresses, the drums and guitars kick in and make the melody more up-tempo, but Zora’s vocals float above the instrumental and seem to dance to the beat of the drums, leaving the listener both enchanted and intrigued. Also, the chorus and vocal melodies are very catchy and will get you singing along in no time. The dark ambiance is enhanced with the next songs, especially “Cry of the Banshee”, which is the most mesmerizing song on the EP, with “Arms of the Ocean” a close second.
Track #2, “Let me in”, is a more upbeat and rockish headbanger, with chugging guitar lines that remind me a bit of Bullet for my Valentines’ “Tears don’t fall”, some pounding drums, theatrical backing orchestration, and a powerful vocal delivery. Lyrically, this is one of the most disturbing songs I have ever listened to, especially if taken literally. However, if taken metaphorically, the lyrics paint a whole different story – the need to deeply relate to someone, to know them inside-out and them to know you in the same way and accept you with all your flaws and strengths. Moving on to track number 3, “Stone Cold Body” starts with creepy piano lines and Zora’s melodic vocals, but soon the backing orchestration and heavy instrumental take over and make the song into another full blown headbanger. Lyric-wise this song is about isolation, emptiness, and solitude, and how we use different things to compensate for lack of affection in our lives (“I like my showers burning hot to compensate for warmth and love”). Or at least, this is my interpretation of the verses.
As mentioned earlier in this review, the gothic ballad “Cry of a Banshee” is a deeply atmospheric track, with ethereal, high notes and harmonies from Zora that contrast beautifully with the mellow instrumental side. I have to say that this is my favorite track from the EP, it’s intoxicating and charming as only a siren’s song could be. And the story line is utterly captivating as well. Closing track, “Arms of the Ocean”, again builds up in intensity as the song progresses, from almost acapella singing to a rather violent climax, with aggressive chugging guitars, massive drums and powerful yet melodic vocals. What a way to end this EP.
With a healthy dose of gothic flair, epic musical arrangements, catchy vocal melodies, and a polished production courtesy of Joost van den Broek, Blackbriar have proven again just how talented, creative and original they are. I really hope that this mature, complex and well put together EP will give them the push they need to reach a greater audience and extent their already large fandom even more. Personally I am looking forward to more music from Blackbriar.
Rating: 4.5 / 5
Zora Cock – Vocals
Bart Winters – Guitars
Robin Koezen – Guitars
Frank Akkerman – Bass
René Boxem – Drums