Burning in Hell - Believe 4/5

Reviewed: 2-16-07


1. Indian forest
2. Little indian voice
3. Medusa
4. Believe
5. Never surrender
6. Guide of dead
7. Save the queen, save the king
8. Stay together forever
9. Code of honour
10. The waterfalls
11. Godesses of fate part l
12. Godesses of fate part ll

Back in 2005, I enthusiastically reviewed the s/t debut CD from these upstart Brazilian speed metallers. My review compared them favorably to the likes of Stormwarrior, Blind Guardian, and faster Gamma Ray, and further indicated that with some additional seasoning Burning in Hell were poised to set the metal underworld ablaze. The boys are back now with their sophomore outing, entitled 'Believe'.

There are a few changes this time around, but the adjustments are not drastic. In terms of personnel, there has been turnover at both the 2nd guitar and bass guitar positions. Nonetheless, the songwriting core of the Moreira brothers, Leandro (vocals) and Mercelo (drums), remains intact. With respect to the music, Burning in Hell are still performing high-quality European-styled power metal at warp speed, but there are some slightly different influences at work here. The guitar playing, in terms of riffs, melodies and leads, is noticeably reminiscent of Dragonforce in places. This tweak is understandable, given the worldwide success that Herman Li & Co. are enjoying these days, and guitarists Geraldo Aito and Tiago Della Vega seem up to the challenge of playing the fast-paced fretboard workouts. The end result is an even higher concentration of hypermelodic, guitar-fueled speed than was found on the debut. To their credit, Burning in Hell avoid some of the excesses of recycled melodies, blastbeats and keyboard wankery that drag down the Dragonforcers at times. The other new influence here is a bit more subtle, but there's a detectable Angra vibe in some of the melodies, arrangements (including the backing choirs in places), and faintly tribal feel that surfaces from time to time. A good example is "The waterfalls", which is quite a fast song, but has a palpable Angra feel to it. This element, which is kept faint and never overbearing, adds more depth to Burning in Hell's sound and if anything renders them more potent than before.

The simple fact is that devotees of speedy melodic power metal are sure to enjoy Burning in Hell, who perform this style very well. On tracks like my personal favorite "Save the queen, save the king", the guitars slice and attack with amazing speed, as the vocals soar over the top in the dazzling chorus. That said, there remains room for improvement in several areas. Vocalist Leandro utilizes 2 singing voices, a clean, strong voice and a rougher half-scream. The latter approach is a bit tough on the eardrums, and sounds a bit like Federica "Sister" De Boni, formerly of White Skull. Not every song is a hammer. And the production values, while improved over the debut, still are not quite where they should be for a CD of this quality. My hope is that the band will continue to progress in these areas on future releases without sacrificing the speed, power, and strong songwriting that have characterized their output to date.

Ultimately, 'Believe' is a mandatory purchase for fans of faster Gamma Ray, old Nostradameus, Stormwarrior, Dragonforce, and the like. The problem may be locating this CD to purchase it. I only learned of its existence after my intrepid editor tracked it down on eBay. With any luck, its availability will expand in the months to come. Either way, speed mavens, be on the lookout for 'Believe', as it is unquestionably worth your time and attention.




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