March 3, 2017 She Must Burn – Grimoire (Album Review)
Envision Metalcore greats Bleeding Through with Keyboardist Marta Peterson providing a ‘clean’ female vocal to counter that of Lead Growler Brandan Schieppati. Then, mix in some dashes of Cradle of Filth, and one might have something that looks similar to the latest Symphonic Black Metal/Deathcore quintet out of England, She Must Burn. Take note: these Brits are poised to assault America with their debut album, Grimoire, due on March 3, 2017 via Artery Recordings.
Their Facebook page declares that She Must Burn is “miserable Metal from the grey UK.” How sunny! The band – comprised of Joseph Sinclair (vocals), Aimy Miller (vocals/keys), James Threadwell (guitar), Jonny Davies (guitar), Frank Korsair (bass), and Daniel Ristic (drums) – blends Deathcore, Black, and Symphonic Metal to create a devastating barrage on the senses.
They released their debut, eponymous EP in 2015, and have since been touring relentlessly to support their brand. To date, they have shared stages with Cradle of Filth, Heart Of A Coward, and Carnifex. In fact, She Must Burn are currently making their way across this lovely country of ours – for the very first time – with Carnifex, Fallujah, Rings of Saturn, and Lorna Shore.
Those who were fans of their first single/video “Possessed” off their She Must Burn EP, expect more of the same but heavier, darker, blacker, Black Metal on their new, full-length debut album, Grimoire. Beginning with the intro “Ritual,” it sounds like nothing more than the background noise in a Horror-based video game. Prepare yourself, however, for assaulting second track “The Wicked,” featuring Scott Ian Lewis of Carnifex. A vicious, bloody Metal malady with beautiful, ‘clean’ female vocals, “The Wicked” is a solid representation of Grimoire: blistering guitar solos, bloody Black Metal vocals from Sinclair, and melodic breaks with symphonic keys provided by Miller.
Then there is “Gloom,” which features Sean Harmanis of Make Them Suffer and, like much of the album, contains not a lick of ‘clean’ vocal work or melody. This is obsidian Black Metal. “Ornate by your master’s design / Infested endearment / Shamed and left in despair,” growls Sinclair, who, often times, sounds like a goblin risen from the depths of Hell and come to capture your very soul. Similar is “Hallowed Grounds,” also lacking any ‘clean’ vocals. Hauntingly melancholic, symphonic synthesizers permeate the track that proclaims: “I feel you crawl under my skin, like you’ve been here before.”
Grimoire is a vicious wall of sound, though in tracks such as “Victoria” – an emotional break-up song fraught with a delicious blend of dirty and clean vocals – it is apparent that there is a heart to She Must Burn’s music, even if it is buried very deeply amongst their villainous Metal assault; the band are never more sincere than when they bleed lyrically, as well as sonically. The emotional texture to Sinclair’s cries creates some of She Must Burn’s best music on Grimoire: candid, heartfelt, somber, macabre.
The quintet absolutely shine on epics like “From The Grave” – where they ponder if you can truly bring a relationship back from the dead purely through longing – and album closer, “After Death.” Miller soars as she offers the poetic, ‘clean’ refrain: “Moonlit eyes cast the passageway into your soul / Illuminates your past for your fate to unfold / Let me guide your spirit, be one with the wind.” This is She Must Burn at their absolute best!
Grimoire contains everything from a piano-only track (“A False Heaven”) to Black Symphonic Metal moments (“Roseblood”), with the majority of its tracks falling somewhere closest to straight-up Black Metal or Deathcore. Once again: think Bleeding Through meets Cradle of Filth and then dial it up a few notches.
Truth be told, sometimes you just have to allow yourself to get lost inside of an album, falling freely toward that ebon oubliette and welcome the vicious end: She Must Burn’s Grimoire is one of those albums. It is an experience that cannot be put to words in a simple review. It is atramentous, stirring, melodic at times, but mostly black as the blood in your cruel, blue heart. For their authoring of a journey to Hell and back, CrypticRock gives She Must Burn’s Grimoire 4 of 5 stars.