Upon A Burning Body started off as a five-piece in 2005 in San Antonio, Texas, taking heavy influence from fellow Texans Pantera, but adding modern metalcore twists and an outright aggressive attitude garnered attention over their thus far three albums.
Now just a 4-piece, but still retaining two original members in vocalist Danny Leal and guitarist Ruben Alvarez we see if they can maintain their high standards on their fourth LP, ‘Southern Hostility’.
Sounding the death knell, the record’s titular opening track barrels down the freeway in a flurry of screeching guitars and rifling snare hits before slamming into the fourth wall with a cacophony of breakdowns and visceral declarations from Leal.
Displaying groove metal techniques, ‘All Pride No Pain’ maintains the intensity ratcheted up from the start with pile driving rhythms that are interspersed with speed thrash interludes to ensure that at no point does it become stale or repetitive.
Attempting to bring all asunder, ‘Reinventing Hatred’ hails with cataclysmic riffs from Alvarez that, combined with the seismic rhythms from Joe Antonellis, ensure that all hope is lost. Focusing more on creating a crushing atmosphere that would make any slam band ashamed, it’s a true showcase of how dark and decrepit they can push the boundaries.
Reaching for the light, ‘Soul Searcher’ is an introspective and reflective conclusion that attempts to wash away the torment of the self-destructive pattern of the human condition. Adding further dexterity to their palette, it includes clean vocals and lighter riffs that have a great juxtaposition against the riling speed metal and Leal‘s austere delivery.
‘Southern Hostility’ is a consistent and aggressive onslaught. The only drawback is that the extremes aren’t more consistently pushed further; the first half of the album doesn’t quite square up with the ferocity and maniacal aggression in the second half to make the whole album truly exceptional.