Burbis – Curse of the Golden Dracula
Record Label: N/A
Released: February 22nd, 2008
Josh, Andy, and Len Longo set out in 2002 to challenge the landscape of rock and roll with their experimental/instrumental band Burbis. After 6 years and multiple line up changes, the band finally solidified their lineup, bringing in Robert Miguel on keys and Pete August on Guitar, and in the fall of 2007 they entered the studio to record the sound they collectively described as “epic.” Curse of the Golden Dracula is no doubt an epic record, especially for a first effort, delivering just over forty-five minutes of music in only eight tracks. The band's sound is extremely diverse, ranging from calm keyboard-driven ambient sections to rock-and-roll jams that are sure to explode a venue when played live.
“Wool of Bat, Tongue of Dog” kicks of Curse with some heavy rock-and-roll-influenced guitars, and from the get-go, everything about the production is spot on. The guitars, bass and drums are all crisp and clear, and combined, they make for a powerful wall of sound. The keyboards enter around :45, using an organ voice that sounds awesome over the rock-and-roll shredding. “Winter Bloom” is a complete change of pace, starting with some acoustic guitars that lead into a very relaxed jam of clean guitars and very 8-bit, original Nintendo sounding keys. Just the contrast between the first and second tracks highlights the diversity in Burbis’s sound, constantly switching up the mood as well as the keyboard voices to keep the music fresh and hold the listener's attention. “1912” is another more relaxed piece, making good use of delay and echo on the guitars to give it a real ambient feel. The keys are kept lighter and more discrete on this track, which again shows the diversity of Burbis’s sound. “Surf Song” has to be my favorite track on Curse, highlighting the strength in Burbis’s songwriting by how well its different sections are melded together. The guitars take a backseat to the keys for a few minutes for a wicked keyboard jam sesh, then the guitars enter and the percussion becomes more and more aggressive, with all the instruments coming together for a huge, heavy jam to end the track. “Small Giant” is a kind of noise interlude, combining tons of random sounds (change rattling, an old piano being banged on, it sounds like a banjo is being smashed) which has no real musical merit but somehow has a haunting aura to it. The title track, “Curse of the Golden Dracula” kicks off heavy like the opener, with heavily distorted guitars and the bass drum being pummeled, which quickly transitions to a spacey guitar-led section over a 7/8 time signature. The track builds until finishing with a wailing guitar solo over a wall of guitars and keys. “The White Snake” opens with some glockenspiel and slowly more and more instrumentation is added until finishing with heavy percussion and more rock-and-roll influenced guitar, making it a good finisher for Curse.
To sum it up, Burbis take the instrumental genre to new places with a pretty unbelievable debut. Though it is their first record, its clear that these guys have been honing their sound for years, and Curse is definitely an result of years of heavy practicing and heavy touring. The best thing about them is their ability to constantly change up their sound, sometimes slow and ambient, sometimes heavy and rock-and-rolling, yet they combine these different sounds into one cohesive whole that is Burbis. There’s a hidden track, as well, which has some samples but minimal instrumentation, and ends with a crowd cheering, which I thought was pretty awesome and appropriate, because hey, I definitely cheered with them after listening to this record. I do every time.