Essentially a solo album, the new vehicle for former 18 Visions vocalist James Hart hasn’t been without its setbacks. Unceremoniously dumped by Island /Def Jam after Hart was originally signed by the label, the debut album will finally see a release on the Rawkhead label, a label specifically created by Burn Halo’s manager to get the album heard.
Originally recorded during 2007 and produced and co-written with songwriter Zac Maloy, Burn Halo’s debut calls upon an army of seasoned session musicians including Daniel Adair and guitarist Neil Tiemann; the latter now forms part of David Cook’s touring band. Hart has now finally assembled a band that should be capable of touring in support of the album.
For an album that has essentially been in the can for nearly two years, it sounds remarkably fresh. 18 Visions was always an uncomfortable amalgam of synthetic eighties melodic rock and contemporary tendencies, but Burn Halo’s debut is a different beast entirely.
Rough edged,burred hard rock with a core reminiscent of Guns and Roses is the order of the day. From Tiemann’s Slash-like guitar forays on the crunching ‘Dirty Little Girl’-and indeed throughout the album-thru to Hart’s wavering vocals on songs like the emotionally charged ‘Here With Me’ or the double tracked harmonies on the vintage rock ballad ‘To Late To Tell You Now’, it all gels into a memorable album. ‘Save Me’, ‘Our House’ and ‘Anejo’-Hart comes over like a hard rock version of Brandon Flowers-are all excellent hard rock songs. Of the less outstanding songs on offer ‘So Addicted’ feels like a clumsy attempt at a more modern genre; lacking a pay off hook it feels like a wasted opportunity to maintain the consistency. Similarly with ‘Fallin Faster’, a ballad so weak it perhaps would have been wise to omit it altogether.
Burn Halo’s debut album will now deservedly be released. With plans to write further material and release successive albums Burn Halo’s future looks glowingly bright after a hard fought start to their life.