Reviewed! Burn Halo - 'Self Titled'

Burn Halo
'Self Titled'
Rawkhead Records

It isn’t usually a good thing when bands breakup, unless you’re talking about maybe Wham! or Stryper, and the breakup of Eighteen Visions was no different. It was a breakup that left a lot of fans puzzled and wondering why, considering the success the band had. Although they had a veritable revolving door of musicians (ex-guitarist Brandon Schieppati now sings in Bleeding Through), the band had released a lot of good material and at one time were Trustkill Records best selling artist. This lead to their self titled album seeing a release through Epic Records, which was a complete flop, even though it housed one of the bands better songs in ‘Tonightless.’

Enter Burn Halo, the new project and full-time gig of former 18V frontman James Hart.

Hart surely has a knack for knowing the latest musical trends, having first found success with 18V’s then marketable OC glam-metalcore, and now continuing to flaunt his knowledge of the latest fads with Burn Halo’s radio-ready rock and roll swagger. And it’s not like he is doing anything wrong here; bands akin to Burn Halo’s middle-of-the-road, pseudo-Sunset Strip rock have shared many a triumph (Nickelback, Buckcherry, Hinder, Saving Abel). Hell, this type of rock even somehow resurrected Papa Roach’s career.

Anyone who actually heard 18V’s self titled album, especially the track ‘Victim,’ had to know that this is where Hart wanted to go musically. Burn Halo’s self titled debut is slathered with big guitars and even bigger hooks you are sure to be singing in no time, coated in slick production and arena-ready sheen. Hart’s voice is as brilliant as ever and he has seemed to find his vocal niche with Burn Halo, although it doesn’t always translate in the best way. Not to mention some of his songwriting abilities have gone the way of the buffalo.

This album pretty much plays out the way you’d expect, but there are some gems amongst the dispensable here, including lead single ‘Dirty Little Girl,’ the battle cry track sure to be used at more than one sporting event in the future, ala Saliva’s ‘Ladies and Gentleman,’ ‘Our House,’ and the clear cut standout, the superfluously heavy rock beast ‘Save Me.’ You’ll get your fair share of sort of, but not really, emotional ballads (‘Too Late to Tell You Now,’ ‘Falling Faster,’ ‘Back to the Start’), unmemorable, here today, gone tomorrow types (‘Dead End Roads and Lost Highways,’ ‘Here With Me’) and the prototypical rock collaboration (‘Anejo’ featuring Avenged Sevenfold’s Synyster Gates). ‘Anejo’ actually is one of the tracks worth taking away from the disc, not just for Gates solid addition to the song, but for the fact that it almost returns Hart to his previous vocal hey-day with 18V.

Although this record isn’t reinventing the wheel, it is doing its part to keep it spinning.

Grade: B
Listen to: ‘Save Me,’ ‘Our House’