Just when you thought there couldn't be any more musical terms containing the word "core" -- as in hardcore, grindcore, rapcore, and metalcore -- yet another "core" term has been gaining ground in Western Europe. The term is deathcore, which is how England's Burning Skies has described Murder by Means of Existence. What is deathcore? In the case of this totally ferocious CD, it's essentially metalcore, which isn't to say that Burning Skies is an exact replica of American metalcore bands like Brick Bath, Hatebreed, and Throwdown -- they're similar, certainly, but not identical. Drawing on both death metal and hardcore, Burning Skies' vocals fluctuate between the tortured screaming that metalcore is known for and the deep, guttural growls of death metal. Arguably, deathcore as practiced by Burning Skies and similar bands is a European variation of American metalcore. But whether you choose to describe Murder By Means of Existence as deathcore or metalcore -- and perhaps both terms are applicable -- there is no getting around the fact that this is a very nasty, vicious, bruising sledgehammer of a CD. Burning Skies never pretends to be the least bit subtle; Murder By Means of Existence is, pure and simple, an exercise in sensory assault for the sake of sensory assault. These residents of Bristol, England (as opposed to Bristol, PA), do not believe in taking prisoners; they kick, punch, beat, batter, and pummel the listener into submission and do so without an iota of remorse. For those who don't have a taste for extreme metal -- which is certainly an acquired taste -- none of that would sound very appealing. But for those who do, this 2004 release accomplishes exactly what it's meant to accomplish -- that is, offering an exciting dose of pure, raw, over the top exhilaration.
Murder By Means of Existence Review
by Alex Henderson