Burning From the Inside
Bauhaus Burning From the Inside
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It is very unsurprising that Bauhaus split in 1983. First and foremost, Peter Murphy became ill and couldn’t even manage writing many of the songs for ‘Burning from the Inside’, leaving those normal duties to the other band members. Secondly, it was the year in which many sub-genres of Metal took place: Thrash Metal began its worldwide crusade in Metallica’s and Slayer’s début albums, the first wave of Black Metal was just around the corner thanks to the unashamed rawness and simplistic musicianship of Venom and even the chart-bothering excellence of the NWOBHM scene including Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Saxon among others. However, this didn’t seem to ruin the band’s music or primary intentions at all, because as ‘Burning from the Inside’, there still were aspects of the band’s performance that made them stand out from the crowd.
Having been together now for five years, the band had reached their career peak with the intensely experimental sounds used on ‘The Sky’s gone out’, which was basically a slight progression of the band’s first two albums. Musically, the band seem to have written less sophisticated material and opted for a more repetitive structure for each song, albeit one that additionally introduces a hypnotic effect. Many of the songs here do seem to repeat themselves on purpose, as on the slightly disturbing ‘Antonin Artaud’ and the extremely hypnotic epic title track, which spans for nine whole minutes before coming to an eerie conclusion. However, not all of these songs get monotonous at all, thanks to the advantageous uses of incomprehensible sounds and eerie noises, which were more than a little prominent on ‘The Sky’s gone out’. You may tire very soon as the unfortunately weak ‘She’s in Parties’ tries but fails to keep the listener interested, being unnecessarily one or two minutes longer than it should be, and the annoying presence of twenty second ‘Wasp’ has filler written all over it’s noise.
Performance-wise, you wouldn’t even know that the band were on the verge of a break-up at all, because each and every instrument is used to make each song stand out. On the almost folk-like ‘King Volcano’ and ‘Kingdom’s coming’ acoustic guitar leads are manipulated to full effect, backed up by the sometimes frenzied expressions of Murphy’s vocals and smatterings of melodic keyboards. The two excellently executed semi-ballads ‘Who killed Mr. Moonlight?’ and ‘Hope’ show that Bauhaus aren’t afraid to use heavier guitar work and slow drums to emphasise feelings of depravity, depression and most importantly, worthlessness. Murphy also develops his unique narrative abilities to make songs such as ‘Who killed Mr. Moonlight?’ and ‘Kingdom’s coming’ seem much more meaningful than they already are.
Some may be thrown by the instant change in tempo on the very punk-inspired ‘Honeymoon Croon;’ and equally as intense ‘Antonin Artaud’, as the other songs generally stick to the same speed, but this is more than made up for with deep lyrical content, once again used to fit the many emotions encompassed into each singular song. ‘Burning from the Inside’, for all its significance in Bauhaus’ career, may still put some listeners off, for the same reason that the band’s first three albums would put listeners off. The change in musical styles unfortunately makes the album as a whole seem slightly disjointed, but this is to be expected when listening to a band as diverse as Bauhaus.
There really is nothing more to say about a band who, nowadays are much more underrated than they were in the 80’s, except that they would return in 2008 to record the much hoped for but not quite as astounding ‘Go away White’, and showcase their talents once again. ‘Burning from the Inside’ certainly won’t change anyone’s mind about the band, but if you do feel you need to grasp a good example of the 80’s Gothic Rock and Post-Punk scene, this album (or any other Bauhaus album in the 80’s for that matter) should serve as a good start.