Burning Flag


Written by: MAK on 24/04/2021 17:36:59

Since their formation in 2013, hardcore crew Burning Flag have worked hard within the UK’s DIY punk scene, causing carnage up and down the country. Heavily touring, the band has earned themselves spots at the likes of Download Festival, Rebellion and Manchester Punk Fest, sharing stages with the likes of Agnostic Front, Subhumans and G.B.H over the years. With two albums in their back catalogue, Burning Flag has had a change of vocalists for “Matador”, insert Holly, formerly of Kiss Me, Killer.

“Thrown Out” teases us with a twinkling intro, like the sound of an old child's toy before the band come crashing in like a bull in a china shop. Crushing riffs and pounding drums attack the ears to get the head bangings. Holly unleashes her fury in with brutish, forceful vocals, occasionally growling at us with pure tenacity. A highly energetic opener like a hit of caffeine. “Ghost Skin” on the other hand comes across more like a steady groover, with thicker basslines and a much dirtier sound. The tempo is dropped somewhat but the wrath in the delivery is still there for a hard-hitting banger.

“Broken Britain” stars with a sample of Boris Johnson, in a scathing assault on the way British politics is going, a vicious sounding track in which Holly pours out passionate shouts, backed up by monstrous vocals that seem reminiscent of Knuckledust. The Musicianship stands out with some lovely intricate drum fills spread across the track and killer riff rhythm towards the end. Title-track “Matador” then acts more like a fuzzy doom-inspired hardcore track, not too dissimilar to the likes of Haest. The track sets a really anxious atmosphere, but more impressively it gives the chance for Toxic by design to come out full charge. Punchy grooving hooks and a vocal rhythm that at first comes across like Suicidal Tendencies. The track crescendos in a heavier pattern following a spoken word segment about man destroying the planet. The big message that “Man Destroys” repeats during a proper heavy outro to lose your shit to.

By the time the likes of “Eat The Rich” and “Vendetta” hit, the album is firing on all cylinders, giving us a bridge between punk and metal, providing a heaviness that I wouldn’t find amiss on a System of a Down track, the brutal chuggery and, beastly backing vocals and Holly unloading a lot of rage upon us. It works well “Vendetta” is feminist revenge, fighting back at misogyny. “Step Back” has some strong Cancer Bats vibes, high-intensity southern metal style riffage, yet with a catchy punk-fuelled vocal melody. The bridge itself is incredibly hard-hitting with a repeated deep hook, but it creates a strong mainstream element too. “All The White” then closes the album with more sludgy, doom-inspired hardcore for a seven-minute epic that fabricates a real dystopian feel as it talks about covid-19 death rates.

As someone who usually prefers the more two-steppy “youth crew” style of hardcore, I found myself captivated by the outright bullish approach as well as the diverse influences that flow throughout the release. As a fresh listener, it just keeps you guessing which way the album is going. It’s a furious release with topics that attack the UK government for how they have handled Brexit and Covid. While also showcasing anger towards mankind for how it treats nature. You can tell this is an album that was written with a lot of pent up frustration during a pandemic. If you like your hardcore that leans on the heavier side then “Matador” is one for you.


Download: Toxic By Design, Step Back, Vendetta
For the fans of: Haest, Cancer Bats, Incisions
Listen: Facebook

Release date 16.04.2021
Phobia Records

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