Burning At Both Ends – Hail Apathy

Burning At Both Ends - Hail Apathy - album coverA little over two years ago, and after only a short time together as a band, Burning At Both Ends released a debut album that marked them as a band to watch.

Since then their reputation has grown considerably not just through a series of stand out performances at Sound Guernsey events but also wider outings, including one at this year’s Vale Earth Fair that, despite the weather conditions, seemed to win them a host of new fans.

Now they’re back with a second full length album, Hail Apathy.

As has always been their calling card they once again jump straight out the traps with a heady mix of pop punk and hardcore edged metal positioning them firmly in what, if we’re getting really specific about these things, gets classed as ‘easycore’.

In that we get choruses designed for a sing-along, passages built for pogoing and breakdowns that should incite a mosh, galore.

Added to this the songs are crafted, structured and recorded brilliantly, being some of the best I’ve heard come from Guernsey over the years. For my tastes it’s all a bit too precise and clean but with gang vocals and dual guitar assaults like these it’s hard not to like.

Burning At Both Ends
Burning At Both Ends at The Fermain Tavern

I’ll admit when I first listened to it I found some of its themes somewhat disagreeable with a somewhat bitter feeling in parts and, in places, something getting a bit too close to ‘straight white male privilege’ rearing its ugly head, along with some first world problems.

However, on re-listening, these seem to fit in with a general theme across the record highlighted by its title and the songs more comment on them than express them themselves.

A few tracks really stand out from the pack in their own right while also sticking to the overall theme.

First of these is lead single F.A.D. Island. On first listen this sounds like it’s simply rallying against the awful reality TV show paraphrased in its name (Love Island) but as it goes on it’s clear it’s looking deeper pulling in broader themes of reality TV along with toxic masculinity and more.

Burning At Both Ends
Martyn Brown and Peter Mitchell of Burning At Both Ends

The Daily Grind is fairly clear from the title what it’s about while Queen Of Nothing contains a truly great phrase amongst its lyrics, ‘Stop showing money, show some heart’.

Most recent ‘single’ Shut It Down deals with loneliness in the always connected world of social media while Leave These Thoughts (previously heard on the Out Of The Box compilation) pulls a lot of these threads together to make for a blistering ending.

Hail Apathy then does at points tread worryingly close to being a bit too negative but bucks this with some of the most complete songwriting and production to come out of Guernsey in some time, mixed with some killer riffs that are genuinely hard to resist.

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