Burning Strong is a hardcore band, comprised of Kevin Lewis (vocals), Robert Goodspeed (guitar), Tito Langlois (guitar), Taylor Drugan (bass) and Mac Carpenter (drums), from Pensacola, FL, that recently released The Fire Rages On. The album title and band name refer to the same idea which seems to be a constant theme for the band.
They started out by passing iPhone demos in 2018 and soon enough headed to a studio. The results are impressive. Hardcore bands are usually pretty technical because of the speed at which they play and that’s no exception here. Carpenter in particular slays in terms of keeping the band in the pocket.
In terms of the music it felt like a pretty straightforward hybrid of ’90s style punk in the spirit of NOFX and plenty of hardcore bands. Lewis leans in the aggressive, tension filled and cathartic release type of vocals.
There are a number of other things they get right. The song length is usually around two minutes and I always felt this style didn't do much more than that. It aligns with the spirit of punk bands like The Minuteman.
The songs do sort of run into each other; it took multiple listens to pick up on the nuances. In general, I always preach about songs feeling seamless on albums. The famous quote by Aristotle seems appropriate here, “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” This type of album was meant to be played from beginning to end. There are eleven songs and it comes in at just a little over twenty-one minutes.
This release isn’t taking punk and hardcore places it hasn’t been before but they do a great job keeping the flame alive. Take a listen.
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