Slow Burning Rage – Slow Burning Rage Review

Whatever, it’s 2022. I was gonna wish you a happy holiday season, but look, this review really got away from me.1 Released smack-dab in the middle of list season and one of many features I attempted to enliven with my superior good taste, Slow Burning Rage had to resort to being a backburner. Technically, this is my first review of 2022, but it feels retrogressive to say that about a 2021 release, so I’ll defer and proudly proclaim it on some other unsuspecting release with this rage slowly burning in the back of my mind. Enough about my own procrastination – what’s the deal with Slow Burning Rage?

Slow Burning Rage is a one-man crew consisting of multi-instrumentalist Ryan Parrish, who you may know as the former drummer of melodeath heavyweights Darkest Hour, as well as other varying acts like Iron Reagan, Mammoth Grinder, City of Caterpillar, and Bleach Everything (to name a few). What can you expect from Slow Burning Rage, then? Well, for as varied and crazy as his resume is, it’s nothing like any of his acts. Slow Burning Rage‘s self-titled debut, deemed “jazz sludge” by the promo gods, has the workings of an instrumental Thecodontion-meets-Miles Davis-meets-Tim Hecker melting pot that isn’t mixed all the way. Also channeling the likes of online project Nahvalr in its revolving door of contributors,2 wild directions, and blatant inconsistencies, Slow Burning Rage is nevertheless a tantalizing listen.

Slow Burning Rage, as perhaps its name suggests, is a slow burn. It doesn’t bludgeon your skull with riffs, nor does it impress with its jazzy technicality. It’s a lumbering beast, and one in which atmosphere is front and center. The most energy that punches through this is the sax and mathy drum freakout the graces opener “Agonal Gasp,” but from there, Parrish keeps things slow and moody. Parrish shows his drummer’s colors in an emphasis on rhythm, that aside from the ambient tracks, each track is firmly grounded by bass and percussion, such as the mathy “Agonal Gasp,” brimming “El Tio (Curse of the Caves),” smooth “The Slow Burn of Madmartigan,” and the pulsing sludge/doom “Scaphism (Two Boats).” Through these and more ambient takes like “A.L.A.S.” and “Transience,” post-punk-ish apathy pours from every movement, recalling acts like Have a Nice Life or Wreck and Reference. Each track offers its own insanity, anchored by a firm grasp on movements and songwriting.

That being said, the last three tracks see Slow Burning Rage flying off the rails. “Transience,” “Dark Thunder…,” and “…Crystal Nebula” are entirely electronic ambient affairs with minimalistic percussion gracing the background, little differentiating them – why, then, are they three separate tracks? As a whole, just as Have a Nice Life members’ Nahvalr “open-sourced” black metal project, there is little connecting Slow Burning Rage‘s vast platter of shenanigans. While the promo states that Parrish’s expertise in world-building is noteworthy, the album is just so all over the place that it’s difficult to tell exactly what world is being built here. In terms of jazz, Zaäar-esque sax freakouts only appear in “Agonal Gasp,” while sludge riffs only appear in “Scaphism (Two Boats),” while the brooding bass-driven graces “The Slow Burn of Madmartigan” and “El Tio (Curse of the Caves)” and the album is bogged down with Tim Hecker-esque ambient tracks that serve little purpose. Simply put, Slow Burning Rage‘s variety is a blessing and a curse.

I suppose Slow Burning Rage accomplishes exactly what it hopes to do with its debut. Ryan Parrish offers us a range of his abilities and collaborators’ respective input, and while that inconsistency shows, it’s an appetizer. This adds greater emphasis to whatever Parrish and company have in store next, because as “…Crystal Nebula” closes out I find myself hungry for more and disappointed with a few samples. While mostly instrumental, I didn’t find myself wanting for them, nor did I feel like the thirty-one minute runtime was too long or too short. Ultimately, while featuring some veteran blood and plenty of promise, Slow Burning Rage lacks the cohesion needed to play with the big boys. Is it enjoyable? Absolutely. Weird as fuck? Oh yeah. Worth my procrastination? Not sure.

Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Self-Released
Releases Worldwide: December 17th, 2021

Show 2 footnotes

  1. I mean, not like Eldritch Elitist and Cryptic Shift, but still.
  2. Seriously, check out the credits on this thing.
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