Burning Brides' debut is the kind of album usually distinguished by the neologism "heavy rock"; it's too fast and too melodic to be lumped in with "stoner metal" or "post-grunge," for instance, and too sludgy to be called straight-up "hard rock." Whatever you want to call this album, the band seems to derive great delight in revisiting a visceral, guitar-heavy sound that was, at one time, so prevalent that it didn't really need its own subgenre, whether you were referring to classic '90s albums by the Pixies; early Sonic Youth; Bleach-era Nirvana; or slab-rock by old-school vets like the Stooges, AC/DC, and Black Sabbath. One reason for this may be the fact that its heavy guitar sound was recorded while reverberating off the walls of a room with a high, 30-foot ceiling, which makes for a very "live" feel. Unfortunately, Fall of the Plastic Empire -- co-produced by guitarist/vocalist Dimitri Coats and Brian Mctear (Matt Pond PA, Mazarin) -- too often tends to replicate the repetitive, dumbed-down sound favored by so many of their somewhat deservedly unsung contemporaries, like those bands on Sub Pop's roster (Nebula, for example). "If I'm a Man" is probably the best overall track here, though just about every song is propelled along by the kind of ham-fisted hammerhead riffs that cause the fingers of headbanging metal kids everywhere to curl up in a devil-horns salute.
Fall of the Plastic Empire Review
by Bryan Thomas