Review: Fleetburner “Fleetburner” [Butler Records]

Review: Fleetburner “Fleetburner” [Butler Records]

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The history of Fleetburner, a new international project from guitarist and songwriter Kevin Storm starts in 2018 when he recorded an album in two months. At the same time Kevin went touring but he never left the idea of his own band and in 2020 the line-up was completed so the band’s debut self-titled album Fleetburner will see the light of the day in the end of September.

Fleetburner started to turn to a band when Kevin met the drummer Tomas Myklebust (Vulture Industries, Slegest) during the Vulture Industries tour and they agreed “they should totally start a band together”. Later bassist Peter Iwers (ex-In Flames, ex-CYRHA) and keyboardist Veli-Matti Kananen (Kalmah, One Morning Left) joined the line-up too. Ken Simerly became a vocalist and Fleetburner is his first album. Besides, Christopher Amott (Dark Tranquillity, ex-Arch Enemy), Nils Courbaron (Sirenia), Masha “Scream” Arkiphova (Arkona) and Agnete M Kirkevaag (Madder Mortem) also can be heard in the album.

Without being a conceptual album, Fleetburner still tells a whole story: started as insecure child runaway the story unfolds into the voyage of man facing his inner demons. And those outside. And beyond. Of course such songs should be very emotional and Ken contributed to it largely. His clean male vocal transmits a lot of emotions: pain, sadness, hope, despair – all of these can be heard in his vocals. Kevin’s background added some emotions as well: he comes from a fisherman’s family so the topic of “big water” goes through the album, expressed in the sounds of the sea, shrieking of seabirds and the names of the songs, in one way or another related with the sea.

Musically, Fleetburner is a mix of Progressive and Melodic Death Metal, while sometimes there is a clear present of Black, Thrash, Doom and even some Post Metal elements. The opening “The Land” sounds quite silent and melancholic, without presaging any Death Metal brutality that will crush the listener in “The Breakwater”. “The Deck”, in its turn starts slowly and sounds more like Doom, while in the middle of the song the band increases the tempo and the music turns into Swedish Melodic Death. The next “The Course” also starts with Doom but then music goes to Avantgarde Metal with some Black notes.

“The Beach” combines the calmness and melancholy with emotionality greatly, emphasizing it not only with vocals but with the music also – here some Progressive Metal can be hears. “The Passenger”, where you can hear the voice of Agnete M Kirkevaag has a melancholic mood as well but at the same time it sounds really dark. Melodic and heavy “Below The Waves” has a lot of emotional moments emphasized with some orchestral samples. And “The Endless”, which ends the album, is a fast, heavy song with great riffs and drums. Some infernal screams add brutality to the song but at some moment it is dying down also, leaving just calm guitar.

To be honest, I can’t highlight some musician – they all made a great job. Hans Pieters (After Forever, Hail of Bullets) mixed and mastered the album in a way that all the instruments can be heard really good: Tomas’ fast drums, Peter’s powerful bass and Vali-Matti’s keyboard solos with Kevin’s guitar riffs and solos as well. There are a couple of sharp changes in some songs but I can’t say it did something bad to the music.

All in all, Fleetburner became a very deep, emotional and various album, which opens up more and more with every listening. Like I said, musicians did a great job and created emotional but in the same time meaningful “roller coaster”. It keeps the listener in suspense and it’s extremely hard to get off it.

Fleetburner will be released on September, 25 via Butler Records.

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