The Debut EP from Sydney-based solo artist Burden Man is a hard listen. Not because it’s a bad EP, mind you, on the contrary, it’s very good, it’s just that the themes running throughout the 6 track, 23-minute long disc are very dark, sombre, haunting and depressing.
With a title like Shadows Of The Dying, you would expect nothing less than those feelings to bubble through. Armed with a guitar and an incredibly deep baritone voice, Burden Man takes us on a dark journey of loss, death, loneliness and other haunting, depressing moments of the human condition. If you could imagine Nick Cave and Neil Young coming together to record an album commenting on all of the woes of planet earth in a dirge-like fashion, you’d be kind of on the right track of what Burden Man is all about.
His guitar work is completely minimalist in nature, from the sustained notes of “Shadows Of The Dying”, the acoustic strumming of “Little Girl” to the Electric droning of “Burden Man“, each note conjures up dark moods and holds a mirror up to the pain and suffering that we all go through and struggle with from time to time.
It also serves Burden Man’s low vocals perfectly. He doesn’t offer much variation, opting to sing in a quiet, monotone, almost talking and droning style but that is what gives these songs character, and it suits the lyrical content like a glove. Truth was, by the time I reached the end of the EP I felt like I needed a bottle of wine and I swear rain clouds had formed outside out of nowhere.
All in all, Burden Man has set out to create a sombre tapestry of compositions, delivering a mix of brooding, heartfelt and melancholic darkness. It’s guaranteed to intrigue and depress in equal measures and get right under your skin. Depending on your tolerance levels, you will either fall in love with the darkness or push away to come up for air. And to be honest, either reaction would be completely OK.