How have I yet to post a Burn It Down discography? Ever since my first time seeing them when they replaced Walls Of Jericho for the opening slot on the Earth Crisis/In Flames tour they have served as one of the most influential bands on my writing style. Their influence can be heard loud and clear on the Path To Misery self-titled full length.
The band got their start in 1997 with the release of a 4 song 7" on Uprising Records. While not having the typical sound of the label at the time, one can assume the connection could be linked to certain members' former "hardline" association; Uprising Records, of course, being operated by former Vegan Reich frontman and "father of hardline" Sean Muttaqui. This early material was quite raw in its nature and while the intensity was present, the progressiveness they would later become known for had yet to take precedent. I mean ... compared to Blood For Blood this 7" is paradise, I'm simply saying that the band had yet to come into form.
Here is some footage of this early material
While the debut 7" served mostly as a demo which would have 3 of its 4 tracks reworked for their follow-up EP, the intensity laid on tape would set the pace for what the band had in store for the year 1998. Taking notice of the happening in Indianapolis, IN, Escape Artist Records had the foresight to release the monumental Eat. Sleep. Mate. Defend. EP. The band would tour in support of this EP with another band who was both experimenting in their own spirituality while simultaneously being at the pinnacle of their career, Zao.
Speaking of spirituality, I'll always remember the lyrics to the aforementioned EP as being some of the few that spoke to me at the time (on the subject). My big falling out with religion was coincidentally coinciding with my deep-end dive into hardcore. While I would still throw a few pit moves for No Innocent Victim or Born Blind or whoever ... I took them all with a grain of salt. The lyrics to Burn It Down's opening track on Eat. Sleep. Mate. Defend. (Kill Their Idols), however, specifically sticks out in my mind as a song dealing with a spiritual view of the world without coming off as preachy or overbearing. While I can't speak for any of the intended meanings of the lyrics, they seemed to be representative of many of those who were transitioning at the time from a "hardline" past to a seemingly "Christian" future. Strange in a way/making sense in another. I digress.
Clocking in at under 15 minutes, the sophomore EP let "the scene" know both that they meant business and what they had in store for the near-future. As with most bands that were garnering attention at the time, Trustkill Records would step in for the release of their next offering in the form of a split with another quintessential Path To Misery influence, Racetraitor. It would be in the year of 1999 that Burn It Down would rightfully take their place amongst the top of the metalcore scene of the time. Playing every fest from Krazy Fest to Hell Fest along with their summer tourmates, Cave In, the stage was now set for Burn It Down to release a debut full length.
Up until this point in time, Burn It Down had yet to have a release clock in at over 15 minutes. While each release contained a presence yet to be matched to this day, there seemed to be somewhat of a limit placed on the full musical range of the band. With the songs typically lasting an average of a minute and a half, there was an apparent realm that had yet to be fully explored by the band. Let The Dead Bury The Dead would change all of that.
Still, to this day, I have yet to find the words to describe the band's one and (unfortunately) only full length offering. In the rare event that I am unable to draw a comparison to anything else happening in aggressive music at the time (and even over a decade later) ... well, that probably means it's one of my favorite albums. While not missing a step in the realm of aggression, the full length manages to also branch out into the what the band had so obviously been grasping at for three years prior. Clean vocals are far from absent and the presence of verse-chorus-verse-chorus song structures are quite apparent, yet, like I said, the aggression of their earlier material was still front and center on this release. I actually specifically remember the band starting off their set with the opening track, Ten Percent Of The Law, and being amazed when the break hit at about a minute and a half into the song/set.
Rare video evidence of their superiority can be witnessed here...
With the album only being released earlier that year, Burn It Down would officially call it quits on November 30th, 2000. Fortunately they were coaxed into performing a final set at Hell Fest 2001 alongside Earth Crisis at what would turn out to be the absolute best concert I ever attended.
I can't remember the specifics but the members were also involved in other Indianapolis projects such as Harakiri, The Gates Of Slumber and some others that aren't coming to mind at the time. For a band to be around for such a short time with such a minimal amount of music to be written, it is unheard of to have the impact that Burn It Down did.