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Album Review: In Sequence by Burning Alms

Sometimes it’s hard to assess so called side projects. Is it a vanity project, is it escapism from your full time band or is it just something completely different. With the release of Burning Alms’ debut album In Sequence it’s clear that they should be viewed in their own right, forget the connections with Calories and Distophia.

Formed during 2012 around the long-running musical partnership of guitarist/vocalist John Biggs and drummer Tom Whitfield (both formerly of Calories & Distophia), the scope of Burning Alms quickly outgrew that of their previous projects, while not being completely removed from their former band’s sounds it is something completely refreshing and a remarkable album.

It’s probably best at this juncture to have a read of the interview we did recently with the band. It will give you an inside view of the influences and experiences that shaped the album. Read it here.

In Sequence is a sonically beautiful album. At times it will remind you of an early on form Sonic Youth at others you’ll think of Swans or Sun Kill Moon. To please the hardcore Calories fans you’ll find plenty of hooks within the layers of noise. Take ‘Mid Storm Still Ending’ as an example, for the most part it’s noisy and discordant, but half way through there’s a delightful hook.

The 7 minute plus opus of ‘Night Climates’ showcases the range of styles and textures contained within In Sequence. The music is emotive and rousing; lurching from all out noise to chilled build up to soaring feedback it’s a delight. Conversely the shorter tracks on the album are also excellent the delicate and beautiful ‘The Pastoral’ is a real gem.

‘Matadors’ and ‘The Periphery’ are outstanding songs. The former contains a brilliant hook while the latter is a fantastic acoustic number with a harmony that would put anything Biggs has done previously to shame. The noisier and less structured moments are a pleasure at the time of listening but perhaps don’t sit with you for long.  ‘Certain Collapse’ is Burning Alms at both their most instantaneous and most discordant..

In Sequence is a superb debut album, there’s a feel of freedom and exploration. There’s elements that will please fans of Distophia and Calories, yet there’s new realms and noises that’ll welcome a whole host of new fans.

AD rating 7.5/10

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