BURNING KINGDOM (feat. Danny Vaughn) – Simplified (2013)
Next week will be released “Simplified”, the third album from BURNING KINGDOM founded by Spanish-born guitarist Manuel Seoane when he moved to Sweden in 2009 looking for new musicians for a band.
The great news are that “Simplified” marks the return of talented singer Danny Vaughn (Tyketto, Waysted), who joined the project earlier this year.
Burning Kingdom also features great musicians in the line-up: Mikkel Henderson (from AORsters Fate) on keyboards, crazy bass player Tobbe Tosigalen (Erottica, Carnival Sun, The Itch) and experienced drummer Johnny Benson (Crazy Lixx, Bai Bang). Impressive for sure.
“Simplified” moves its musical path between classic melodic rock & hard rock, obviously strongly guitar-driven. Seoane is a skilful orchestrator not only focused in shredding (he drops some killer solos but at the service of the songs) but also providing a massive backbone of riffs and rhythm guitars. The rest of the guys are more than competent at their duties as well.
But what all of us wish to hear is Danny Vaughn’s magical melodic vocals. Well, let me tell you he’s in great form, still strong and with a potent vocal output.
The album opens with the unnecessary intro “Stay Awake”, leading its way to the first single and video (watch below), a solid melodic hard rocker but not the best track on this recording. The clip is a bit weird as in my opinion Vaughn does not looks very well there, but get focused on the music, actually it’s a good song.
I started to worry a bit with follower “From On High”, as it’s an ok track yet quite boring and generic. It’s not well mixed (to my ears) and the mastering leaves much to be desired. By far the weakest number on the CD and badly placed as proper second track.
But… things turn awesomely great next on “That’s My Boogie”. What a killer melodic rocker in a Mr. Big tongue-in-cheek style with Danny Vaughn exploding in his full potential. The guitars rock bigtime, the rhythm section runs, there’s a catchy chorus and even a really intelligent change of pace in the middle before Seoane unleashes a monster solo. This track alone worth the disc.
Since the aforementioned kickin’ track, the album raises the bar noticeably as next we have a lovable AORish tune in “The One That Almost Got Away” plenty of harmonies and keyboard infusions, “We Are A Wall” is clearly Tyketto-inspired (and that’s a good thing), and the ballad “I Will Fight No More Forever” is heartfelt and really well constructed with some acoustics into the mix.
Later, “Falling Down” is propelled by a steady guitar riff, a melodic refrain and nice drumming and percussion.
“Killing Time” is one of those muscular hard rockers that you need to balance a good Melodic Hard Rock album and the song superbly serves for its purpose. It’s a highlight with Seoane driving the track via a razor sharp (but clean) riff and Vaughn shows a rougher side which fits the song like a glove.
“Skeleton Tribe” rocks good in a much more melodious way despite the absent chorus, and the album reach its end with title track “Simplified”, a fine Melodic Rock / AOR tune full of keyboards like no other in the entire disc. It recalls the present Scandinavian scene yet with a foot put in the ’80s.
Burning Kingdom’s “Simplified” is a very good Melodic Hard Rock album with solid songs, tasty musicianship and great vocals by the ‘forever young’ Danny Vaughn.
This is a really, really enjoyable record. Yet there’s something that keeps me scratching my head; you could expect a couple of fillers on every album, but honestly, I don’t understand why they placed the weakest tracks at the beginning. Maybe it’s me, as exchanging opinions with a friend while listening the CD he marked the first single/video as one of his favorites.
Anyway, track 3 is the only poor cut here, the rest is bloody good, with some brilliant highlights.
01. Stay Awake (Intro)
02. Watching As It Burns
03. From On High
04. That’s My Boogie
05. The One That Almost Got Away
06. We Are A Wall
07. I Will Fight No More Forever
08. Falling Down
09. Killing Time
10. Skeleton Tribe
Danny Vaughn – Vocals
Manuel Seoane – Guitars
Tobbe Tosigalen – Bass
Mikkel Henderson – Keyboards
Johnny Benson – Drums