In 2013, it’s hard to imagine that a band can still invent a unique sound, but Burnt Books has done just that with their self-titled debut full length. The South Carolina five-piece describes themselves as “avantgardecore,” and that couldn’t be more accurate. In just ten songs, Burnt Books covers an array of genres, mixing intense, aggressive screaming with some of the weirdest and most abrasive clean vocals that you’ll find in music today. From start to finish this album is chaotic, disjointed perfection and appealing to fans of any extreme music, as well as fans of hearing women scream their hearts out.
Burnt Books shows you exactly what to expect from the moment it starts, with opening track “Selfish Friend,” a relentless scream-filled tirade, which prepares the listener for the barrage of anguished chaos to come. Intermingled in the impossibly heavy tracks that fill this album, listeners are treated to two bare bones songs, “Materialist Conspiracy Theory” and “Liar,” which are comprised of just banjo and Zoe Lollis’s eerie singing. This change of pace doesn’t feel out of place at all and makes for a fitting break amongst the chaos, something previously only achieved by the likes of Weedeater. This album ends just as unsettlingly as it begins with the intensely pained “Pretty Daughters,” which perfectly blends all the styles thrown at the listener, and closes it off just as wildly as it began.
With only a demo preceding it, Burnt Books is already changing the course of where we can hope extreme music to go and they’re starting it off in a fantastic direction. While it’s true that Burnt Books’ sound is not for everyone, it is for anyone who is interested in hearing weird and unique things can be done under the “-core” umbrella, as well as what indescribible sounds female vocalists are making these days. This album is definitely, even this early, a contender for one of the best albums of 2013.