Gravity Burn – “Weight and Sea” (2008)


Independent Release/Renaissance Records (Distribution)

Review by Mortuai

Atlanta, Georgia’s Gravity Burn is a tribute to the concept of globalism in the musical world. After founding the band in 2006, drummer Josh Hack and guitarist Mike Buffa composed a good deal of music before they began searching for a vocalist. They found one, through a series of demo trades and other communications, in classically-trained beauty Magdalena (Magda for short) Ollar from Krakow, Poland, who moved to the United States to join the group. Within weeks of completing their lineup with bassist Adam Holcomb, the band recorded their first demo and rapidly found themselves becoming one of the most well-known names in the Atlanta music scene, getting frequent radio airplay before they had even performed at a single live show. You may wonder why I have dual release dates and labels listed. It’s because the band recorded and self-distributed a seven-song (well, eight if you count the seven-second fade-in entitled “Intro”) version of their debut album before being signed to Renaissance Records. After their label signing, they returned to the studio and recorded four more tracks for the Renaissance release, which came out several months later. Both the self-distributed and Renaissance releases have the same title – “Weight and Sea” – and the same cover artwork, so I thought I would list both. It doesn’t take long for the listener or viewer for that matter to pick up on the band’s style. Strong, clear, obviously good-budget production? Check. Angsty-rebellious, often self-questioning lyrics? Check. Heavy alternative-rock-influenced guitar riffs with minimal flash, almost no solos and the occasional mid-riff harmonic? Check. Bald band member with goatee? Check. Yes, Gravity Burn is alternative metal through and through, but fortunately enough, they also happen to be very good alternative metal. While I’m sure the Evanescence and Flyleaf comparisons will fly fast and furious and there are some parallels to those bands you can draw easily enough, to me the music more often than not sounds a bit closer to the denser, heavier version of alt-metal purveyed by groups like Disturbed and Godsmack, particularly on cuts like the crunch-laden “The Visitor” and the hard-driving leadoff cut “Stranger”. What sets the band apart, though, is definitely Magda’s voice. If she has an accent from her Polish upbringing, I can’t hear more than a miniscule trace of it in her singing. Similarly, classically-trained she may be but I don’t hear a bit of operatic style in her delivery. Instead what I hear is powerful, forceful and emotionally heartfelt yet still ethereally beautiful and vulnerable. Oftentimes during songs she harmonizes with herself, and never once does it take away from the impact of her vocals, instead enhancing the emotive effect superbly. Of course it doesn’t hurt that every song has exceptionally well-written vocal melodies and instantly-singable choruses, many of which are near-guaranteed to stick in your head for days, especially the positively addictive “Slowly Killing Me”, which for some reason calls to my mind a bit of a Creed influence. The other band members are obviously competent musicians, especially guitarist Mike Buffa, who demonstrates a few bursts of technical yet melodic flash on the album’s best and most emotionally compelling track “Broken Promise” and the classical guitar intro to the balladish “Not a Dream” but in general the straightforward style they play doesn’t allow for much in the way of progressive touches or musical experimentation. Though it may seem at times like several of the tracks are just variations on the same musical theme, there’s still enough variety between songs to prevent everything from getting too much of a ‘heard that already’ feeling, even on multiple play-throughs of the entire disc. Now I’m not the world’s biggest alternative metal fan, I’ll admit, but I’ve been thoroughly enjoying this release to the point where my only real complaint would be a desire to hear a bit more lead guitar work from Buffa here and there. Other than that little personal sticking point, I can’t find much wrong with this album at all. If you like alt-metal on the heavy yet emotive side, you absolutely cannot go wrong with “Weight and Sea” .

Rating – 95/100



  1. Forward
  2. Stranger
  3. Falling Down
  4. All the While
  5. Visitor
  6. Not a Dream
  7. Other Side
  8. Losing You
  9. Slowly Killing Me
  10. Broken Promise
  11. Remiez


Line Up

  • Magdalena Ollar – Vocals
  • Mike Buffa – Guitars
  • Adam Holcomb – Bass 
  • Josh Hack – Drums  



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