“Nothing’s As Real As It Seems” is the third album by alt metallers The World Will Burn. This transcontinental collaboration includes Dale Thompson on vocals, Alan Zaring on guitars and other instruments and Aaron Bushong on drums. There are also guest appearances by Troy Thompson (co-founder, Bride) and Tim Bushong, who produced the album.
I didn’t anticipate how groovy “Nothing’s As Real As It Seems” would be. Big guitars and bigger drums hit you on “Sins And Tragedies”, and Dale unleashes all kinds of fury on the mic. The care Tim took to balance all the elements deserves special mention. You’ll hear it in how Dale’s
voice, first singing and then screaming in the chorus fits despite the great differences in delivery.
The band sets a soulful, contemplative mood with the solo guitar that leads “Love and Life”, but breaks through any restraint in the first verse. I like this diversity, and I’m only two songs in! There’s a moody organ and vocalisations that push “Love and Life” off-kilter, like the world of the song is off balance. This sense of “nothing is as it seems” is brought into sharp focus later, in “Boxing Ring”. As I listen to the album, I am challenged by the lyrics. Why would no one believe in hell? Have we become as those who believe only in what the eye can see, and in what scientific experiments can measure?
I love how Alan’s bassline anchors “Rainbow’s End”, and am I right in ascribing the snarling guitar to Troy Thompson? I get the feeling that the lead character in the stories of these songs is coming to grips with a cold hard reality, like when he says, “What do I do now that I’ve seen the rainbow’s end?” As in, there is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow – but more importantly – what do I do now that there are no more rainbows? Since rainbows are the physical sign of God’s promise to never again wipe the earth clean by means of watery deluge, what will happen next? We are reassured that “God is ever present, He is never absent” in “Love Fills All Things”.
The band sounds uncannily like Type O Negative on “No One Sings” – you could mistake the opening guitar riff for a cello – and it sounds to me like they are tipping their hats to their various musical influences throughout the album. “Listen for the Symphony” is a highlight for me personally as it starts intimately before becoming truly expansive, exclaiming “the King of Heaven won’t stop singing”. In an interview with Angelic Warlord (available at), Alan offers that the concept of “Nothing’s As Real As It Seems” centers around Jesus’ last days on earth, and moments thereafter. With this in mind, “All Hell Is Breaking Loose” signifies a moment of triumph for me, like when Jesus Christ is resurrected, breaking the chains and setting sinners free. I am also reminded of how John wept because no one was found worthy to open the scroll and look inside, only to be told:
“… Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.” (Rev. 5:4-5)
What a mighty God we serve!
“It’s the Hallelujah!” returns to the moment Jesus Christ surrenders His spirit to the Father, and I like how a parallel is drawn with that moment in Joshua 6 where the walls of Jericho tumble down. Like Carey Kinsolving comments in “What can we learn from the Walls of Jericho Falling Down?”, Joshua knew as his army encircled Jericho: “The battle is the Lord’s” (1 Sam. 17:47)
It’s so interesting how The World Will Burn combine different musical styles on the album. “New Creation Man” is an example of this. I can’t help but hear a similar funkiness to Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Give It Away”, but in the chorus it’s that much heavier, Dale really letting rip as he screams the line, “New Creation Man”. Again, props to the producer for blending both the screams and singing in a way that leaves room for both. “Lead Balloon”, in a similar vein to “Boxing Ring” uses oxymoronic comparisons to add comedy. In a way, I’m reminded of the quirkiness you also hear in Shaun Ryder’s Black Grape (whom you may remember as the lead singer of alternative rave rock band, Happy Mondays).
The special edition of “Nothing’s As Real As It Seems” features three moody bonus tracks, all instrumental.
The World Will Burn are not afraid to take musical risks, and “Nothing’s As Real As It Seems” scores 8/10.
Written by Karakul
- Sins And Tragedies
- Love And Life
- No One Believes In Hell
- Rainbow’s End
- Love Fills All Things
- No One Sings
- Listen for the Symphony
- All Hell is Breaking Loose
- Boxing Ring
- It’s the Hallelujah
- New Creation Man
- Lead Balloon
- New Life (special edition bonus track)
- Frantic (special edition bonus track)
- What Is Real (special edition bonus track)
Dale Thompson – vocals
Alan Zaring – guitars, programming
Aaron Bushong – drums
“Nothing’s As Real As It Seems” (2020)
Release Date: 2020
Record label: Retroactive Records, Goatman Records
Lyric video for ‘Sins and Tragedies’