“Sometimes you’ve got to burn the past to rise up from the ashes,” sings Burn Halo frontman James Hart. What started out as Hart’s solo project has been laid to rest and reborn in Burn Halo’s second album Up From The Ashes. Many will find the album is a perfect blend of the gritty, in your face rock that the 2009 self titled debut brought along with the aggressive style and punishing riffs you would’ve heard in Hart’s previous metalcore staple Eighteen Visions. “We wanted our own identity” says Hart. To achieve that, Burn Halo would collaborate in the studio for the first time. The opening track and first single “Tear It Down” really sets the tone. It has everything you look for in an opening track to a hard rock album. “This album is us. This is Burn Halo” states guitarist Brandon Lynn. It was Brandon who was the real architect in the musical direction of the new album. “Most of the songs we were writing early on were very standard rock songs,” says James. “I had an old song I had written that was much more aggressive and a lot heavier,” says Brandon. That song was “Dakota.” “To me, “Dakota” is the most important track on the album,” Without that track, we don’t have the album we have.” explains James. The path was clear and what they would pave out from there would be 11 bone crushing rock songs that touch on every edge of the rock/metal spectrum.
Though the future wasn’t always so clear for Burn Halo. It took quite a while for their current lineup to come together. “There were just a couple of things that never felt right,” said James of touring prior to the recent Burn Halo additions. It was bassist Aaron Boehler who brought friend and fellow Tulsa, OK resident Brandon Lynn to the band in 2009 when the band needed a fill in on rhythm guitar. “It just felt right after one rehearsal,” James said of Brandon joining Burn Halo. In early 2010 it was Aaron again who had targeted his best friend and previous band mate Dillon Ray to take over on the drums. “The three of us living in Tulsa just gave us a great opportunity to work on the songs for tour,” Aaron states. “I had been lobbying for Dillon to join the band since day one.” Aaron got that wish and things were starting to look up for Burn Halo as they quickly began work on Up From The Ashes. Aaron was the first to initiate the writing process with Dillon. Brandon and lead guitarist Joey Roxx quickly followed suit and began compositions of their own. In November of 2010 the band took their collection of songs to producer Colby Wedgeworth and began production on the album. The album surprises from track to track. Their growth and maturity laced on every song. It is in fact songs like “I Won’t Back Down” and “Shine” that take the band to a new place, and on those tracks, Burn Halo does a great job of blending their aggressive rock style with tasteful flashes of metal. “Everything on this album has been taken to the next level,” states lead guitarist Joey Roxx. It is hard to disagree with Roxx and the rest of Burn Halo. The rock tracks have much more feeling to them and on what some would call their “ballads,” Burn Halo doesn’t go too soft this time around. On “Stuck In A Rut,” Burn Halo is able to showcase their ability to write a hit song and still keep an edge. “Threw It All Away,” which is a band favorite, is the album’s masterpiece. The song is a classic metal ballad that takes you on an emotional roller coaster. And not just lyrically, but musically as well.
Burn Halo are no strangers to the road either. After supporting acts like Avenged Sevenfold, Buckcherry, Papa Roach and Halestorm, Burn Halo found themselves winning over crowds night after night. Touring the debut album also impacted their approach on writing the new album as well, “The heavier and more up tempo songs were a lot more fun to play,” says Aaron. “We wanted an album that would be great to play live as well as listen to on recording.” They have accomplished all of that and more, but there is still some work to be done for Burn Halo as they set out to build on what they started. Some say a sophomore album can make or break a band. If that is in fact true, then Burn Halo has definitely made it with Up From The Ashes.