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Don Caballero - What Burns Never Returns CD (album) cover


Don Caballero


Post Rock/Math rock

3.65 | 48 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars A ballsy album that captures the transition from one masterpiece to another, and hosts many of their strengths.

Don Caballero is the Math-Rock band. The classic trilogy of Don Caballero 2, What Burns Never Returns, and American Don is where you turn to if you want to indulge in everything that makes Math-Rock and experience the band that shaped the genre into what it is today. Here you find an album that marks departure of the monstrous, metallic demon of Don Caballero 2 and the genesis of the definitive sound with slick, speckled abrasiveness. I love this album because of the obvious experimentation heard and the serious nature of the music. The atmosphere here feels dark, tough, or even maniacal.

The guitars are the most drastic change here. At times they still retain their distorted, chunky sound from American Don 2, but now they invest some more creativeness and release a dangerously off-putting spring of sound that sounds like the strings are being chewed on. It's amazing honestly. Damon Che on drums is astounding as he will ever be. Bringing some sneer and corruption to jazz drumming. Pat Morris on bass gives an insight of the musical direction at any given time, either providing thundering bass that will echo through your soul or quick snippets of more thoughtful lines. The band overall sounds like it has this method of disconnection giving intricate, individual thoughts that all converge into a single voice.

Don Caballero 3: Disjointed guitars and drums try to mesh their sounds and place in subtle changes to slowly accomplish that until it becomes apparent after drum ques. Unique percussion add a face to the crazed guitars once again. The switch in mood from the dissonant collaboration to the more accessible Math-Rock creates great tension and keeps the lengthy piece from being a bore. Riddled with sonic jabs and disorder, Don Caballero flaunts their ambition for a new sound while still retaining comfort and precision.

In Absence of Strong Evidence..: A more typical Don Cab Math piece that could have fit anywhere on American Don. Guitars are technical and distinguishable, the bass has more personality popping out every so often for some nice licks here and there. The guitars create such strong melodies that they mimic a vocalist. To my fancy, the drums don't dominate in the mixing nor does Damon try to sound too prominent in his playing. The ending is unusual to find in this song. The band sounds like they have been crushed are being smeared on the floor.

Delivering the Groceries at 138 BPM: Just like the prior song, here is a track that blends perfectly into another part of the trinity. The rough guitar interplay with thick bass tones duplicate the sound found on Don Caballero 2. This song is heavy, dark, and substitutes technicality for pure metal edge. The drum bridge is brilliant ties this knot with a slight math exit.

Slice Where You Live Like Pie: Taking the brawniness from Don Caballero 2 and integrating the swift passages and cold compositions, here we have the transitional sound. Interlaced guitars create a fibrous and entangling shell that quickly shatters from the change from glossy tone to a fierce, yet wonderfully catchy, guitar line. Once again, Damon seems to be a bit restrained and actually having a sense of balance here. The climax is reached after gaining momentum with aid of a now passionate drummer and siren-like guitars.

Room Temperature Suite: This song's sections paint a picture of a sulking child that quietly discusses their conflicts on their own. Having mainly gloomy guitars on the surface, the drums surface and provide some power with relentless double-bass. Afterward, like a troubled child sent to their room, the band's sound begins to linger and fester. The 3 bridges link 3 individual small sections in the song. They have their own identity and aren't really a production of prior development of the band. I don't see this as a bad thing.

The World In Perforated Lines: Contrasting Room Temperature Suite, Don Caballero makes this short song begin with simple guitar lines, drum grooves, and walking bass to make progression and musical inclusion more simple and natural. The bass is fantastic throughout the entire song, having attitude and remaining complementary. The guitar duo of Ian and Mike gradually change their conversational playing: adding distortion, incorporating goofy bending, or becoming more talkative with their notes. I don't care too much for the distorted, slowed ending though it doesn't feel out of place or ill-preformed.

From the Desk of Elsewhere Go: Guitars feel suspended as they loom and scratch the sonic surface with their sporadic style. The bass emerges momentarily to provide warmth, and the drums are slick but sometimes mimics the guitars' off-putting rhythms. Overall, you will find a fusion of former themes on the album reappear with a more experimental vision. The atmosphere is eerie and leaves you wrapped in a ice-plagued blanket.

June Is Finally Here: Feeding on the energy built upon by From the Desk Of Elsewhere, June is Finally Here does a wonderfully job at sustaining the off-putting guitars, loose percussion, and the sparse bass until Don Caballero decides to transport us to a more warm, uplifting environment. One of my favorites from the band because of the success and accuracy found all within the title.

What Burns Never Returns seems to be the middle child here, having American Don and Don Caballero 2 command all the attention they well-deserve. Though, to me, this album serves as a link to two essential masterpieces of the genre and progressive music in general - this role does not mean that it cannot deliver as much creative power and high quality. I prefer this release more than Don Caballero 2 mainly because i adore the bizarre aura i get from the album. This album is a real trip for me to listen to and i feel i discover more strange fragments constantly.

Horizons | 4/5 |


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