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February 25, 2024

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Burning Image
1983-1987 (Alternative Tentacles)

By: Jeb Branin

In the 80s I tried really hard to get into the whole horror punk scene (as it was often called). Bands as diverse as 45 GRAVE, LDS, THE CRAMPS, AMEBIX, CHRISTIAN DEATH, and even the mighty MISFITS were all often lumped together, if only for image. Try as I might, I just never "got" it.

One 7" I somehow picked up in my efforts to appreciate horror punk was a single by BURNING IMAGE (their only official release before now). The music was mostly forgettable, but the 7" always stood out in my mind somewhat because of its superior cover art and the fact that inside the record there was a little scrap of paper with an actual drawing/doodle from BURNING IMAGE guitarist/vocalist Joe Sparks (who now does online cartoon work).

I often wondered if Joe had put a doodle in every single one of those records. Recently when I exchanged a couple of emails with Joe, I should have asked, but I didn't.

This CD takes both tracks from the 7" and eleven unreleased demo tracks (yes 11!) and gives BURNING IMAGE their first real album 17 years after their demise. To be honest, I still don't "get" BURNING IMAGE. I recognize the quality of the music and appreciate what it's doing, but I just don't enjoy it. I can't think of a time I would ever pull this out and put it on just for the sake of listening to it. But if you are a fan of goth or any of the aforementioned horror punk bands, you probably will. This isn't haunting or dark in the same way that contemporary goth is, but it's wanderlust melodies are clever and certainly stand in contrast to what most punk and hardcore bands of the day were doing.

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