I hate writing negative reviews; I truly, truly do. My job here is so much easier if I hear an album I love, write a glowing review of it, and hopefully spread that love to someone who hasn’t heard it before. I feel like it takes so much more effort to take apart an album than it does to just enjoy it, but sometimes it just has to be done.
I did not know who Burn was before I saw Deathwish Records, one of my favorite labels, pushing their new album Do or Die hard on social media. Some quick research tells me they are “legends” in the hardcore scene because they’ve been around since the 90’s. If these guys are supposed to be legends then I think we need to take a step back and reevaluate the meaning of that word. If this album is what legends put out then apparently the hardcore scene needs to up their standards on what a legend is.
What a disappointment. Musically this sounds like the red-headed stepchild of Anthrax’s 80’s material. Nothing on this album is original; it’s every hardcore cliché you’ve ever heard but done so much worse. I think the most praise I could give this thing musically is that the guitarists have their moment where they’ve written a truly passable riff; on the opening track “Fate” for example. That opening riff almost made me think I was in for a really good hardcore album but that was sadly not the case.
The vocals on this thing are truly awful. They don’t fit the music at all, they don’t sound aggressive, and they don’t flow at all. Were these guys brought back with a record deal just because vocalist Chaka Malik is black and we have to stick it to those non-existent Nazi punks? That’s the only excuse I can think of for this shit, because this guy is absolutely awful and needs to stick to his day job.
I’m just disappointed. I usually enjoy just about everything Deathwish releases but this album is making me second guess some things about that label. I really hate being negative about music, especially when it’s coming from a genre like hardcore which needs all the help it can get in recovering from 2 decades of subpar releases but Do or Die is just bad. I don’t know why this album exists and I can’t recommend it to anyone.
I give this album a 1.5/5.
Check it out here if you must.