Wearing your influences on your sleeve as an artist is a double-edged sword: you may be praised for not only your [good] tastes but your ability to convey your inspiration's sound for new listeners, but you could be condemned for recycling the past and having no real sound to call your own.
Such is the case with Barn Burner, who despite claims that they have a totally unique sound, are the closest thing I've ever heard to Metallica, circa 1983's Kill 'Em All. Which isn't a knock against them, actually. Many bands have tried to capture that ever-so-cool retro kinda sound unsuccessfully, but these guys have captured the essence of that classic proto-thrash sound - and they're from Canada.
Separating their obvious influence from the work at hand, Bangers II: Scum of the Earth makes for a great second album full of high energy tunes that rock from start to finish. Seriously, these dudes don't let up from the first note to the last, and it's the total old school thrill ride that makes you want to dig out your old skateboard and put on your Chuck Taylors. You won't find Kirk Hammett-style licks here in the solos - in fact, some of the playing actually sounds a little sloppy in the best way - and the totally raw recording style makes the whole thing feel like you're in some small, beer-stained club thrashing with your best friends from high school. Admittedly, there are a couple of zigs and zags in the mix, like the 70s keyboard bit near the end of Gate Creeper, but overall, if you're a fan of the early 80s American metal sound, you must check these guys out.
The Bottom Line: Metalheads of a Certain Age will surely want to dust off their sleeveless denim jackets and mosh with abandon to the likes of Barn Burner. This is some great old school West Coast metal. Into the pit!
- Genghis would love to see an old school show again...