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Album Review : Bursters – Once And For All

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Bursters first came onto the scene in Korea in 2014 when they reached the top 6 on TV show ‘Superstar K’ – the only rock band ever do so.  2015 saw them release their debut EP ‘ Independent’ with a further EP released later that year, as the bands following outside Korea grew largely due to over a million views on YouTube. Through relentless touring the band built up a solid fanbase and in 2017 released their debut album in Korea, ‘Live In Hope’ to critical and commercial acclaim.  

2019 saw the band tour outside of Asia and release their first English language music and in March 2020 ‘Once And For All’ was released, which sees this 5 piece leading the first wave of a new genre of K-Rock. 

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1f_Ir28lwE&w=560&h=315]

The introduction to ‘Smell The Rot’ started out life as an instrumental the band were working on to use at the start of their concerts, but felt it was too good to just be used as a concert intro, so developed it to become a heavy drumdriven track with Roh spitting his high energy vocals over the top of some seriously grinding riffs. It’s a lively opening and certainly grabs your attention. The first single from the album, ‘Barriers’ follows in much the same vein and it’s easy to see why Kerrang! Radio picked up on it and gave it plenty of airplay upon release. The track is explosive and has a catchy chorus which gets in your head and stays there. 

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A funky bass line opens ‘Hero’ but again the guitars and drums kick in and we are soon at full throttle, before the first of 2 or 3 breaks as we build to a frantic finale. A near angelic, choral opening leads us into Colors, which finds Roh toning down his vocals and the rest of the band chipping in with a chant like chorus, but there is still plenty to get your teeth into here, a great bass line, thumping drums and plenty of guitars. 

The title track ‘Once And For All has a hard edged pop feel about it with a riff running through the track and an interesting section where the lyrics appear to be sung in Korean. Writing lyrics and translating them to another language whilst still conveying the intended message and emotion, must be one of the toughest jobs for a writer, so it is brave to include this section in their mother tongue and will be interesting to see how it is received by the audience outside of Asia. 

‘Dreamer’ and ‘Dreamer ll’ once again bob and weave between 80’s influenced soft rock and a harder edged sound, with plenty of breaks along the way. When combined we are treated to a near 9 minute epic which has everything in it. The next track slows the tempo slightly and may well be the track that gets the band wider recognition.  ‘Remind You’ is a catchy, well written song with a softer rock sound and great riff, but without the raw power of the earlier tracks on the album. This is the standout track for me and the one that I went back to play over a few times. 

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We are then treated to something of a rollercoaster ride over the next few tracks as first the tempo  picks up with ‘Therapy where the guys get back into the heavier rock vibe with screaming vocals alongside quieter whispered sections, but then Give And Take’ switches back to a lighter rock style before ‘Here I Am’  & ‘Savage’ ramp it up once again. Keep an ear open for the short jazz influenced interlude during the latter! 

The more straightforward hard rock track ‘Eternal’ carrys us forward and this is another great track with a thumping rhythm and some high energy riffs before the genteel intro to the final track ‘Heal’ which rises to a magnificent finale. 

This is a band very much at the beginning of their career and Once And For All’ is a promising debut from Bursters with plenty of well crafted songs, which should see them increase their fanbase outside Asia and just as important, pave the way for others to follow.   

Reviewed by : Howard Whitelaw for MPM 

Bursters is:
Junyong Ahn – Guitars
Daegun Roh – Vocals
Gyejin Lee – Guitars
Hwanhee Jo – Bass
Taehee Jo – Drums

Track Listing:
Smell The Rot
Barriers
Hero
Colors
Once And For All
Dreamer
Dreamer II
Remind You
Therapy
Give & Take
Here I Am
Savage
Eternal
Heal

Official Homepage:http://evermoremusic.co 

Official YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/burstered 

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