Burning Image

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1983-1987 Review

by Al Campbell

Burning Image was a bit of an anomaly in the punk pantheon of the '80s. At the time, hardcore punk was the rage but was becoming formulaic and dumbed down as quickly as the songs were getting faster and shorter. These four guys from Bakersfield, CA, home of Buck Owens and Merle Haggard, had more in common with the English "batcave" bands of the period like the Specimen than any hardcore unit. Their goth sound, mixed with a heavy dose of theatrical sensibilities, caught the attention of Jello Biafra, who quickly championed the band as one of his favorites, and he was instrumental in getting Burning Image to open numerous times for the Dead Kennedys. For those who missed the band the first time around, these tracks gather the whole of Burning Image's early unreleased demos: a whole album's worth of songs from the sessions for the rare single "The Final Conflict" b/w "Burning Image, Burning" (along with the single itself, of course). Three tracks -- "Gargoyles," "Anytime, Anywhere," and "Temptation" -- were recorded in July 2003 and contain the same spark as the material recorded 15 years earlier.

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