BURN THE MANKIND_To BeyondDeath metal, at least in its most modernistic and stereotypical actualization, largely eschews the cerebral in favor of the visceral, crafting violent soundscapes that reinforce instead of juxtapose the narratives of disfigurement, annihilation, and warfare that accompany the music. And…cut. For those not familiar with the Flesch Reading Ease scale, the higher the score the easier the text is to read, and Harvard Law Review generally sits around the 30 mark. In comparison, the promo blurb I read for Brazilian death metal act Burn the Mankind scored a 16 and my abomination achieved a -10.6. Integers, baby! It’s inspiring too, because I’ve just shown that if you put your mind to it, you can do anything, even out-hack absurdly pretentious promo blurbs! Thus it’s with high spirits and a throbbing lexicon that I go To Beyond.

While Mom always told me not to judge a book by its cover, she never said anything about records. To Beyond is clearly either very edgy metalcore (note the V replacing the U) or sterile modern death metal. Shockingly, I’m correct: Burn the Mankind throw Suffocation, Hate Eternal, Morbid Angel, and Behemoth into a woodchipper and attempt to make an audible Jackson Pollock painting out of it. Like Pollock’s work, a lot of things seem to be going on but when you look closer it’s just different colours of paint spewed any which way hoping someone finds some meaning in it. It’s like an audible forty-three minute long Rorschach test where the only wrong answer is worthwhile death metal.

Nowhere is this more telling than when I was trying to find To Beyond‘s standout tracks. I couldn’t, but instead managed to come up with parts that stood out in their own mediocre ways. “Lies” has a brief but decent melodic break that sounds like Hate Eternal took the appealing consonance in “Locust Swarm” a couple degrees further. There’s another quick burst of relatively satisfying melody in “The Gun” and this makes me wonder why the band didn’t just write more melodious stuff throughout the record. Burn the Mankind flirt heavily with Gateways to Annihilation in the midsection of “Cries” and do well enough to cop a feel and a get a phone number. Sure, it’s a wee bit commendable, but if this record ascended to the mountainous heights of “meh” it wouldn’t have made the “things I like here” cut.

BURN THE MANKIND_2015a

To Beyond inspires unenthusiastic tolerance at its best. This is due to the previously mentioned scattershot appropriation and implementation of influences and a newly mentioned lack of songwriting dynamics. Burn the Mankind relies so heavily on blasting behind rote chugging riffs for intensity that it just becomes a nuisance to hear them. When the shameless pilfering of Nasum‘s “I Hate People” that appears in “Real Slave” feels refreshing by comparison, something’s rotten in the state of To Beyond. Breaking up the speed with the overextended and boring instrumental, “Vacuum” was an unsuccessful ploy, because by that point in the record the blasting had already stopped being intense, and when things eventually kick in after the further plodding in the intro of “Everyone is Blind,” it’s back to the same old same old, and the blasting quickly resumes its leading role as musical wallpaper.

To Beyond‘s production is predictably squashed, sterile, and lifeless. Clinical is another good term, especially because clinics generally have waiting rooms and this is about as visceral and exciting as reading last July’s Time while waiting for your tetanus shot. It’s clear to a fault and bass is actually audible, but ultimately To Beyond‘s sound is flat and uninspiring. Extra points for thematic unity with the music, I suppose.

I can’t fathom any reason for Burn the Mankind latest to enter into anyone’s rotation. To Beyond is irrelevant, lacking Morbid Angel‘s creativity, Suffocation‘s punishing brutality, Behemoth‘s hooks, and Hate Eternal‘s razor-sharp and less exploratory Azagthoth-isms. The record revolves around an “ethical-existential concept of a character” according to the band, so allow me to conclude on their terms. If death metal is Heidegger’s Being and Time, Burn the Mankind is Sartre and To Beyond is Existentialism is a Humanism: it’s a poor reading of the source material, and the entire enterprise is built upon it. Being and Time has an extended discussion I can’t summarize here on how everyone is essentially and at all times being-toward-death. To Beyond reinforced that, as my biggest takeaway is that I’m give or take eight hours closer to my own death having listened to it a dozen times. My gift to you, mirroring the “ethical” part of the press release, is saving you forty-three minutes of your time and the crushing realization that you wasted it on sub-par death metal.


Rating: 1.5/5.0
DR: 4 | Format Reviewed: 192 kbps mp3
Label: Mighty Music Records
Websites: Burn the Mankind Official | facebook.com/BurntheMankind
Releases Worldwide: December 18th, 2015

Share →
  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    Burn the Mankind? Burn the ESL teacher!

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      Considering the description of the record, that kind of grammar is thoroughly the shocking.

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        Well, the band is comprised of former members of Nephasth and The Ordher so I guess correct grammar and spelling are either not their strengths or something they despise altogether.
        Sorry, I meant something they despise the altogether.

    • DIMENSIONAL BLEEDTHROUGH

      Welcome to the Hell!

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    I think somebody just got struck off the Christmas card list…

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      They didn’t put me on the “writers to bribe” list either, so that’s icing on the cake.

  • Thatguy

    Heidegger and Satre in metal review? Only on AMG. Well done Diabolus, and thanks for taking one for the team.

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      AM(continental philosophy)G is going strong! Always happy to take one for you guys on the readership team though, makes the whole Top Ten list thing a lot easier!

    • I can’t hear any philosopher’s name without thinking of Monty Python’s “Philosopher Song.” I’m so broken.

  • John Mosley

    I have read that Being and Nothingness is a brilliant misunderstanding of Being and Time; plan on determining this myself one day, if I ever finish B&T…

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      Heidegger actually wrote a rebuttal to Sartre’s reading of BT in a piece called ‘Letter on Humanism’, which is worth checking out. If you get stuck (everyone does with Heidegger), Lee Braver’s commentary on the “Basic Writings” collection is great for putting it in more digestible terms. Basic Writings has a section of BT in it too, which might come in handy.

      BT is an odd duck, because you have to read it once and then read at least the intro again and then it makes sense. Heidegger never fully finished the project, and did more interesting work (IMO, of course) after his “turn”/”kehre”, which basically shifted Dasein from center-stage and focused on the world instead. ‘Origin of the Work of Art’ and ‘Nature History State’ are my two top Heidegger works, both “post-kehre”, so I’m a bit biased here.

      • Iliast

        Building, Dwelling, Thinking ftw.

        • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

          Brilliant essay! I actually had to deliver a seminar on that regarding Heidegger’s political aspects of philosophy as entirely separated from his alleged “person politics”. I can’t lie, I’m a Heidegger fan. He’s the last true genius the world had IMO.

      • John Mosley

        Thanks for the tip. I read H’s rebuttal to Letter on Humanism, (Existentialism is not a Humanism???) years ago in college, but still want to cover the source material. I have read H’s Intro to Metaphysics twice and took a lot from it, but I understand early Heidegger is supposed to be much different than later. I have a love-hate thing with H: love the ideas, and loathe the style. Hope the juice from B&T is worth the squeeze.

  • Guillotine of Papal Crowns

    God, I LOVE this site. You turn a boring experience into a fun, enjoyable and interesting read :__)
    Diabolus, I only hope that you were doing anything else while listening to this like, I don’t know, play Aliens: Colonial Marines or something valuable in comparison (lol)

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      I don’t even have my Xbox One or 360 here so I couldn’t even play that trainwreck fortunately. Thank God for 3DS and Smash Bros. Also, again, cheers to you man!

      • AlphaBetaFoxface

        I’m responding to this on my 3DS. Disqus only loads like 4 times outta ten on it but that’s enough for me. 1v1 me, pink captain falcon on corneria m80

        • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

          Ryu over Falcon, all day every day.

        • Guillotine of Papal Crowns

          Reading and commenting AMG in your 3DS is the most unexpected metal thing in the universe.

          • AlphaBetaFoxface

            There must be a bare minimum in how many possibilities are experienced by humanity during this universe’s lifetime. I wouldn’t let commenting on AMG via 3DS pass us by! I’ve actually tried commenting via 3DS on a few other posts but apparently this was the day the gods shone light in my favour. All hail, the Nintendo M/aster-race.

          • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

            I love Nintendo. Their exclusives are the best of the big three companies by a long shot.

          • AlphaBetaFoxface

            He gets it! The good taste is strong with this one

          • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

            This should be common knowledge! We’ll be playing Mario Kart and Smash Bros long after we’ve finished with The Last of Us, Uncharted, Halo, and whatnot.

          • sir_c

            Must be the Hello Kitty edition to make things complete

  • beurbs

    I think it’s a little hypocritical to talk about pretentiousness and then write this. You’ve got six paragraphs here, and only mention musical things that happen on the album in two of them. This is music, right?

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      If I’m understanding this correctly, a comparison to other bands whose sounds people into metal will most likely be familiar with, a list of attributes those better bands had this one lacks, and the record’s production don’t count as “musical things happening on the album”? More power to you to take that stance, but it’s a perplexing one.

      • beurbs

        That isn’t a review of this album, it’s a review of other albums.

        • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

          That’s an outright dubious claim. It’s a review of this album and other albums are referenced because just calling it death metal is too broad and poor understanding. What should have been written then, in your increasingly convoluted idea of a proper review?

          • beurbs

            What’s convoluted? I’d just like to see reviews of albums that spend most of the time talking about the music on the album. For example: there’s nothing about the quality of the playing, the vocals, or the lyrics. I liked that you talked a little bit about some individual songs though. I had never heard of Flesch Reading Ease before, but there were a few sentences in here I didn’t really understand, so I pasted them into an online Flesch calculator and it gave a rating of 16.3, which is pretty close to the 16 that you said was “absurdly pretentious”.

          • beurbs

            Well for example you could mention the lyrics, the vocals, the quality of the playing, guitar tone, or use of rhythm. I mean if you’ve got time to talk about Heidegger then I figured there would be at least a mention of the vocals. And it seemed weird to harp on the pretension of writing something that got a 16 on the Flesch scale. Who knows if they even wrote it? Shit, I got really confused by one of your passages here and pasted it into this online calculator that gave it a 7.1 on the Flesch scale.

          • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

            I mentioned it was clinical and sterile in production. I also mentioned the overuse of blasting with a chugging rhythm of guitars behind it. I had nothing of note to say about the vocals, because my comment would’ve been “meh”. We didn’t get a lyrics sheet, so all I had was that one video and what the band themselves said about the record in the press kit. In WordPress we get a Flesch score and this particular review scored in the mid-50’s overall, whereas the band’s entire statement scored a 16. We don’t get a sentence-by-sentence reading, so if something was confusing I’d be happy to clear it up. It’s presupposed that a professional release has competent playing, so that’s only really worth mentioning if someone had a particularly exceptional performance or completely blew it, neither of which happened here on any front. Playing boring music well is still playing boring music. The Heidegger and Sartre mention was in direct reference to the press kit material, not a forced bit thrown in haphazardly.

          • beurbs

            Well thank you, that response cleared some things up!

          • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

            Glad I could help!

        • This comment makes no sense to me.

          • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

            Join the club. It’s got only one member so far but there’s cookies and beer.

  • Mark Z

    1.5/5 for the album, 5/5 for the review. Great job, this almost reads like a Cracked article. The line “it’s like a 43 minute Rorschach test where the only wrong answer is worthwhile death metal” gave me quite a laugh.

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    Oh the humanity!!!
    When are we going to have the lyric video discussion?
    Will there be an end to these abominations?
    How many more need to be made before the blatantly obvious fact that they’re shit is realised?
    How much needless suffering will be endured by metal heads before somebody puts a stop to them!?!?

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      It’s the biggest jobs creation program for animators the world has ever seen!

      • Carlos Marrickvillian

        oooo I sense a conspiracy theory!

        • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

          Oh no, I’ve said too much! This goes straight to the top!

          • Carlos Marrickvillian

            OMG I knew it, Sharon Osbourne!!!
            I just locked the doors and pulled all the blinds down…

  • Here’s Johnny

    Ooft the snobbery is oozing out this review ;)

    This album is simply boring/unoriginal, saying it is plainly bad is a bit harsh though(especially since it’s a debut). It’s pretty decent for a debut. Good musicianship, well produced and so on.

    Damn that is me expelled(again) from the weekly elite AMG meetings where you sit down and read Nietzsche/Satre out loud, then do a circlejerk.