A Journey Through Grief, Consequence, Debt and Laughter: A Review of Joshua Burnside’s Into the Depths of Hell

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'Into the Depths of Hell' will take you on a journey that you'll want to relive again and again

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Based in Belfast, Joshua Burnside has made a name for himself over the past few years following the release of his debut album Ephrata in 2017. His debut was written in Colombia and incorporated Cumbian rhythmic ideas, showcasing the influence his surroundings have on the music that he creates.

Burnside is back, and better than ever, with the release of his newest album Into the Depths of Hell, exploring grief, consequence, debt, and laughter. This album takes you on a journey, and one that you’ll want to relive again and again once finishing.

What stands out about Burnside’s Into the Depths of Hell is its almalgamation of genres and ideas. Combining aspects of traditional Irish folk, evident in ‘Noa Mercier’, with traits of alternative, which are especially pertinent in the powerful track ‘War on Everything’, there’s a little something for everyone to enjoy. With each song that enters, it is also impossible to predict what it will bring.

Into the Depths of Hell effectively demonstrates the multi-talented nature of Burnside to be able to satisfy so many ideas at once. Every single track introduces a new theme or new timbre, facilitating a truly emotive listening journey. Listening to ‘Napolean’s Nose’ you’ll become hypnotised by its prolonged strings, clippets of sound and no vocals, only to be snapped out of it with the chaotic experiementation evident in the album’s closing track, ‘Nothing for Ye’.

Despite the fantastic and unique use of timbre experimentation throughout Into the Depths of Hell, it is impossible to not speak of its traditionalism within the Irish, folk melodies. The harmonies present in ‘I Saw the Night’ are haunting, especially when combined with the ominous timbres behind. This opening track is the perfect example of Burnside’s almalgamation of traditional and alternative themes.

As an album, it could not be in a better order. The songs on Into the Depths of Hell seem to have been worked on individually and then looked at in the wider picture, in order to create the most ideal experience for listeners. Opening with ‘I Saw the Night’, it’s hard not to listen on as it is so intriguing. And as a closing track, ‘Nothing for Ye’ is utterly perfect. The vocals, clearly influenced by traditional Irish folk, are replaced by a chaos of noise, with the finishing touch being the sound of a tape recorder shutting off. Burnside’s finale on Into the Depths of Hell is a statement, and one which you can’t help but listen to again on finishing.

Every part of Into the Depths of Hell is flawless. The raw sounds that can be heard in ‘Under the Concrete’ with distant sirens and bird tweets is only the start of the authenticity that can be heard on this album, and each song flourishes with ferocious emotion. As a listener, you’ll be brought into a new world filled with surprises that’ll undoubtedly stop you in your tracks. You’ll want to play it loud, just to experience all that Burnside has to offer.

Into the Depths of Hell is available to listen to now.

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Live Editor 2019/20 & second year English student. Can usually be found procrastinating my degree at a gig, or trying (and failing) to complete my Goodreads challenge

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