Bury Tomorrow

Earthbound

Written by: TL on 28/01/2016 13:44:40

Bury Tomorrow, from England, have since their inception been a band that did more than most to keep the metalcore genre alive and credible, making an effort across their first three albums to be known for their dependable, pure and catchy sound, which always stuck closely to the essentials of the genre. So it has been, and so it is on the band's new album "Earthbound", which is presented in its press material as an album that does away with notions of up-and-down flow and instead seeks to present the listener with ten equally mosh-friendly bangers.

The band aligns closely with the names in metalcore which are 'more metal' and less 'whiny cleans and breakdowns'. It is evident in the combination of heavy metal tempi and persistent melodic tapping on top of chugging base riffage, that the balance of influences that finds its way into Bury Tomorrow's material is skewed more in favour of melodic heavy metal than toward hardcore. Parkway Drive, As I Lay Dying, Miss May I, and as the band has confirmed themselves - Unearth - are all bands that line up closely with the sound presented on "Earthbound". This, of course, means that you also get a trusty serving of harsh/clean vocal combinations, courtesy of vocalist Davyd Winter Bates and guitarist Jason Cameron respectively. And in these two the band have considerable assets when it comes to sounding like a more credible and forceful group than many genre colleagues.

Bates has a raspy, slightly airy style of throaty vocals - bringing thoughts to mind of a sneering and growling guard dog - which he alters slightly towards more hardcore, more blackened or more death metal styles when appropriate. Commendably he mostly maintains a quite clear articulation - which should be a point of envy for many who share his profession. Meanwhile, Cameron has always been an ace for the band as well, singing with a full voice that doesn't sound unnecessarily strained or unnatural. Here the group also has more to work with than so many bands in the genre with whom the clean vocals sound either like an afterthought or a necessary evil. By now, however, Cameron has developed a much more manly heavy metal tone, compared to the almost clear, Dallas Green-like cleans he sang with on the hits way back on the band's first album. Particularly on the album's first song, "The Eternal", the combination of the song's overall tone and Cameron's clean singing almost make Bury Tomorrow comparable to Trivium for a bit there.

For all the props given to the singing, it is ultimately the instrumentation that carries the show on "Earthbound", however. In fact, you suspect Cameron of having focused more on guitar playing than on coming up with vocal melodies, as the choruses of his that are supposedly central to the songs, in fact end up being the more pedestrian moments of listening. It's like he's just routinely injected a couple of 'meant to be anthemic' lines in each track and then focused right back on shredding again. Instead the constantly engaging rhythmic dynamics and that shredding - ohhh that shredding - become the main reasons to pay close attention to "Earthbound". For while the songs might otherwise come to feel like formulaic metalcore at a glance - with "The Burden" standing out as the catchiest of them - the ripping guitar composition on the directly following "Cemetery" for instance, makes you wonder if Cameron even needed to sing on this one. The answer is he didn't, and it's also sort of a shame the track ends in with the always lacklustre 'casually fade out' trick, but frankly it has enough badassery going for it to be a staple of the record anyway.

An exhaustive review could go on to map out just how the instrumentation keeps leaning Bury Tomorrow's base sound in various interesting directions - like how the rampant speed that opens "301" marks it as a respectful tribute track nodding towards the band's more hardcore influences. It could also go on to rank the album's choruses by catchiness, which would throw "Restless & Cold" and "Memories" up alongside "The Burden" as high marks. But really it suffices to note that Bury Tomorrow continue to elaborate the base talent that they have in excess, for making metalcore that sounds credible and instantly enjoyable. That being said, the intention to make "Earthbound" a collection of tightly wound pit-singles is also what holds it back. The simplicity of the choruses and the rigid songstructuring hinders its listenability as a whole album, preventing elaboration of the kind of atmosphere and diversity often found on albums by another band Bury Tomorrow claim influence from, namely Darkest Hour. Perhaps not a back-to-back listen for the ages then, but a solid helping of ammunition for Bury Tomorrow's ever more potent live arsenal.

7

Download: The Burden, Cemetery, Memories
For The Fans Of: Parkway Drive, As I Lay Dying, Unearth, Miss May I
Listen: facebook.com/BuryTomorrow

Release date 29.01.2016
Nuclear Blast

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