Fire On The Plains - Burning All Bridges EP
Record Label: Roam The River Records
Release Date: 11/18/08
"Naw man, I'm pretty fuckin' far from okay," says Ving Rhames, who famously portrayed Marsellus Wallace in Quentin Tarantino's timeless epic, Pulp Fiction. This is the sample that kicks off Simi Valley, California metalcore quartet, Fire On The Plains debut EP, Burning All Bridges. Mr. Washington's sample on the album couldn't be any more accurate. Burning All Bridges is also pretty fuckin' far from okay; it's incendiary.
Before Mr. Rhames' sample reaches it's conclusion, he is not so subtly interrupted by Chris Campbell's ferocious guitar work, Ryan Daugherty's nifty bass rumble, and Ricky Mendoza's blunt force trauma drumming (ENTIRELY a good thing I assure you). So begins the tumultuous, fully-automatic insanity of the opening track, "Mia Wallace Foot Massage". During the two minute and forty second song, heavy bass drops, off-kilter drum blasts that could easily be confused with the soundtrack to the apocalypse, Pulp Fiction samples, and guitar lines crazier than a bag of PCP run amok, and yet somehow seem to go together better than franks and beans. "But what about the singing?" You may find yourself asking. Donnie Febbo's vocals will make your ears whimper like a homeless puppy (again, ENTIRELY a good thing). There is no hiding from this man's absolutely devastating ability to summon acid in every word he spews. His mid range cacophonous pleading is the perfect register for Fire On The Plains busy sound. In between the musics' pummeling assault, Febbo is the constant in this whirlwind of brutality.
Unlike other metalcore bands who play at warp speed until the big breakdown comes, Fire On The Plains can actually write a pretty well structured song. "Eskimo Eddie Eyes" is best described as a big groovin' slow burn. Chock full of heart and soul, as well as grime and fury, this song teeters between poise and panic almost as well as any song Mastodon has ever written. The curiously titled "Lisa Turtle Bukakee" begins with another slice of sampling; this time Alex DeLarge from Kubricks' A Clockwork Orange. The track rolls on, plodding, waiting like a stalking serpent, venom ready to immobilize it's prey at any second. It hisses, it scares you to the point of a wardrobe change being necessary, all without delivering an actual bite. The lingering fear of the aforementioned proverbial bite is the EP's biggest teaser of all. The track seems ready to blow at any moment, building layer upon layer, and in the maddening swoon of hysteria, it ends all too soon... I think I understand the song's title now.
The brief silence soon passes and gives way to "Navaho Joe's Last Dance", the albums most straightforward track. Don't get me wrong, it contains PLENTY of musical acrobatics that would make the Big Apple Circus green with envy (and a breakdown sure to please the truly hardcore at heart). Burning All Bridges' final track (the magnificently named), "Burt Reynolds", is a ditty that rocks hard enough to scorch its namesake's infamous mustache clean off of his face. "Listen pal... You gotta make it a little more sexy, don't just ram it in there like that", says Turd Ferguson... I mean Burt Reynolds' Boogie Nights sample. Apparently, Fire On The Plains wasn't listening... they figuratively ram it in there repeatedly, and it is met with highly powerful results.
There is never a dull moment on Burning All Bridges, even in the nearly 70 seconds of silence between "Burt Reynolds" epic climax and an unlisted bonus song (that is pretty solid as well). You will anxiously await the sound that is about to consume your ears. My only knock on the EP is with the packaging. Having the lyrics printed would have been a nice bonus, but really, if you're that concerned with what someone is saying just read a damn book. Even if you can't find something from this album that grabs your attention, you at least have to give Fire On The Plains credit for having superb taste in films...
Harmonically unresolved and unsympathetically noisy, Fire On The Plains' debut EP, Burning All Bridges, will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger.