Beaten Back to Pure – The Burning South

Beaten Back to Pure – The Burning South – 3.5/5

I’m almost stumped as to how to really go about this one. It’s not that I have yet to thoroughly listen to it – having gotten regular rotation for a fair while now – but it’s simply hugely unmemorable, and bizarrely this works in its favour. Fitting squarely between Sludge and Stoner with more than a hint of that Southern Rock groove oozing out of the guitar lines, it’ll never really make a big impact but neither does it ever really get tiring, and it’s that last point that demolishes most artists longevity for me, particularly where sludge is concerned. I simply find myself getting bored of their particular style all too quickly and so need to move on to someone else, but not this time.

Perhaps this is because of the manner everything is performed; whilst the sound fits quite nicely there’s never much of that sense of ‘wading onwards,’ pushing on despite the hardships endured, its perhaps more akin to what the title alludes; Redneck Metal. Sitting back and relaxing with grass in your mouth and a jug of moonshine, slowly drinking yourself blind until someone wearing a pink shirt who may or may not be a homosexual passes by and you just know the only acceptable course of action is to give chase in your truck bearing shotguns and yelling ‘yee-haw,’ or the slow contemplative track as your feeble mind wonders whether getting your cousin pregnant again was a mistake (just hope nobody tells them the confederacy lost).

With no offence intended with that elaborate metaphor, none of this is actually ever a bad thing as it lends an odd sense of unpredictability. The music is unbelievably simplistic with its use of chords that slowly drag on in the background, never really caring enough to come forward and make themselves noticed but content to drift along up until the point where a solo is required and then they seem to become a little confused, awkwardly pausing and looking at each other until someone actually performs something, and whilst this still sounds negative I can’t really adequately explain how its not.

Each musician feels almost like an actor with a role to play, reacting differently to a different set of circumstances, fluidly coming off with simple but perfectly suited lines; the drums are raw and seem to harmonise with the guitars which would be impressive in itself but only made all the more so by the high degree of variation the tracks can take. There are as many slow and melodic tracks as all out hillbilly style aggression and everywhere in between, and the vocalist somehow seems capable of both lending a delicate voice that retains its masculinity only to suddenly gargle through a mix of blood, phlegm and moonshine to make his point known. If you’re now bemused by all these odd contradictions, then this review has summed up my thoughts perfectly.

Highlights: Where the Sewer Meets the Sea, Running Out of Neck

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