Hard rock band Upon a Burning Body is, it would seem, one of the hardest working bands in the hard rock community today. Having formed approximately 15 years ago (which is not that long ago in music industry years), the band has released five albums and one EP. The longest stretch that the band has gone between new albums is three years, which came between the band’s fourth album Straight From the Barrio (2016) and its fifth album Southern Hostility (2019). Each of those albums has enjoyed its own level of success in terms of charting. The band shortened its time between new records again this week with the release of its second ever EP Built From War. The five-song record was released Friday through Seek & Strike Records – its second studio recording for the independent label. The 17-minute record is a work that the band’s established fan base will appreciate jut as much as metalcore and metal fans in general. That is thanks to its musical and lyrical content, as is evidenced in part by the EP’s first two songs, ‘5X3’ and ‘Built From War.’ Each song will be addressed here, along with the EP’s penultimate song ‘Living for the Weekend.’ All three songs do their own part to make this record work as well as it does. When they are considered with the EP’s two remaining songs — ‘Chains of Agony’ and ‘Extermination’ – the whole makes Built From War an EP that is built for success.
Upon A Burning Body’s latest studio recording Built From War is a strong new offering from the band, which has already made quite the impact on the metal community in such a short time. That is due to its musical and lyrical content, each of which is accessible in its own way. The EP’s opener, ‘5X3’ is just one of the songs that serves to support the noted statements. This song’s arrangement is a full-on assault on the ears, but in the best way possible. It is a blues-infused heavy metal opus that wastes no time grabbing listeners by the ear with its heavy, driving guitars, time-keeping, vocals and bass. The immediate thought that comes to mind in listening to the song’s musical arrangement is a work that takes the best elements of Hatebreed and Lamb of God and combines them into one whole for a work that will keep listeners’ adrenaline peaked. That adrenaline is heightened through the social commentary that is clearly presented through the song’s lyrical content.
The social commentary in question is a statement about people’s obsessions with celebrity and fame in general. This is pointed out in the song’s lead verse and chorus, through which front man Danny Leal screams, “Nothing’s free in this world motherf*****/This life is not what you see on your screen/Your 5×3 reality/Before you double tap on what you wish you could be/Understand it might not be what you think/You want it so bad/But you don’t know what it means/There’s no turning back/Once you’re in too deep/Can you handle it/Here’s the cold hearted truth/Only craving the money the power the fame will never satisfy you.” He continues in the song’s second verse, “This life is not just the views from the top/Because the higher your head gets the faster you’ll drop.” This applies just as much to people’s obsession with celebrities and wanting to be famous as to wanting to be famous through YouTube and internet in general. Given, this is hardly the first time that any band has ever take on the topic of people’s obsession with fame and celebrity, but it is no less gripping here as from any other act from across the musical universe. When it is considered along with the fire in the song’s musical arrangement, the whole of the song becomes just one of the EP’s most notable entries. The record’s title track stands on its own merits.
The musical arrangement at the center of ‘Built From War’ is a full on thrash/groove composition that will keep listeners just as engaged and entertained as ‘5X3.’ The powerhouse guitars and time keeping works with the bass line and vocals to once again present that Hatebreed-meets-Lamb of God type of sound. Even more to its credit is that the arrangement is not just a rehashing of 5X3. It is its own, unique musical presentation that audiences will appreciate just as much as that song. That pummeling musical arrangement is just one part of what makes the song stand out. Its lyrical content partners well with that merciless musical arrangement.
The song’s lyrical is a fist-pump-inducing statement that encourages listeners to defy all obstacles. That message is made clear in the song’s lead verse and chorus in which Leal screams, “Are you the strongest of them all/Cross the lines of fate/Wipe the blood from your face/Forged in the heart of the fire/Fueled from failure/Made for more/Built from war.” It is strengthened even more in the song’s second verse as he notes, “The power remains/The blood fueling rage/Don’t turn away/To rise you must fall/Tell me do you have the strength within you to be the strongest of them all.” It is cemented in the song’s third and fourth verses, “Start the battle and end the war/Strength is the only way out/To be the strongest of them all/What are you built from/Are you the strongest of them all/Strength is the only way out/To be the strongest of them all.” Again, little to no doubt is left here as to the song’s uplifting message. It is a message of self-determination and strength. When that welcome message is coupled with the song’s equally powerful musical arrangement, the result is a work that holds its own just as much as ‘5X3.’ It is just one more way in which the EP shines. ‘Living for the Weekend’ is yet another song that makes the EP stand out.
‘Living for the Weekend’ stands out in part because of its own musical arrangement. This song is not a cover of Fitz & The Tantrums’ song by the same name. It just so happens that both songs have the same title, and while each is enjoyable in its own right, each is its own work. It also is not a cover the song from The O’Jays, which is its own song, too. Ironically, the song’s lyrical content is very similar in its approach, with the song’s lead verse stating, “Roll up your sleeves/And strap on them boots/Clocking in and out/It’s the work week blues/Got mouths to feed and bills to pay/All work, no play/Long days/They’re all the same/The f*****’ boss don’t even know my name/This 9-5/Gotta leave it behind/or break your f****** back/And keep your a** in line.” The song’s chorus adds, “Thin lines, I’m walking all the time/F*** these deadlines/leave ‘em all behind/Hell yeah/All my worries are gone/With the music loud/And the grill’s on/Hell yeah, living for the weekend.” The song continues on in similar fashion from there in its second and third verses, with the song’s subject lamenting about dealing with each day of the work week and needing a break.” It’s a bit of a touchy subject right now considering how many thousands of people are out of work as a result of COVID-19, wishing they had a job, but it is still a song that will connect with its own share of listeners. To that point, this and the song’s heavy, blues-based Hellyeah type arrangement make it stand out even more. Keeping this in mind along with the impact of the other songs noted here and the EP’s other two songs not directly addressed, the whole of the EP proves itself a powerhouse presentation from Upon a Burning Body. It makes Built From War a presentation that is built for success.
Upon a Burning Body’s new EP Built From War is a strong new presentation from the band. It is one more example of why this band has remained so successful even despite being clearly one of the hard rock and metal community’s hardest working bands. It shows this band is still running full steam ahead and is aimed to be one of the next leaders in the current generation of hard rock and metal bands. That is evidenced through the EP’s musical and lyrical content, as the songs examined here show. When those songs are considered along with the EP’s two songs not discussed, the whole of the record – the band’s seventh studio recording overall – proves itself a work that will continue to build the band’s name and reputation. It is available now. More information on the EP is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:
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