May 27, 2009

CD Review: Bury Your Dead - Bury Your Dead

2006 saw me introduced to hardcore kids Bury Your Dead with their album Beauty and the Breakdown. At the time I gave the album a positive review, all while noting that hardcore was not really my scene. Bury Your Dead proved to be one of the exceptions, and in those intervening months and years I have found my affection for the band and this album growing considerably. No, it is not the most original of music, but it was tight, heavy, and the band sounded like they were having all kinds of fun, especially with all of the fairytale-inspired song titles. So, it was with a decent amount of anticipation that I picked up their latest release, simply titled Bury Your Dead. I have had the album for awhile know and have really come to like it, although there are some significant differences between this record and its predecessor. Don't worry, it is still recognizable as a Bury Your Dead release.

My first issue with Bury Your Dead is rather insignificant when looking at the big picture, but in the small one, it bugs me. It is the cover art, I really do not like it. At a glance it is way too reminiscent of Escape the Fate's cover for Dying is Your Latest Fashion, an album that I hold no affection for. I just think the band could have come up with a better representation for this collection of songs. Now back to your regularly scheduled program.

In the years between Beauty and the Breakdown and this self-titled album, the band underwent some internal turmoil, which seems to have defined them over their career. Singer Mat Bruso, their longest tenured vocalist left the band. He was temporarily replaced by Michael Crafter (ex-Carpathian). He did not remain long and was replaced, permanently, by Myke Terry. Plus, after recording was completed, guitarist Eric Ellis left the band to be replaced by Chris Towning. It does appear, now, that the lineup is set as they move into the future.

The album opens in classic Bury Your Dead fashion with "Sympathy Orchestra," a cut that displays the band's signature crushing riffs, growled vocals, and precision drumming. This carries over into the second track, "Hands to Hide the Shame"; however, new pieces begin to enter the picture.

All of the songs are rather punishing, but some melodic elements seem to be creeping into their sound. The vocals are not always growled, some actual singing is being entered into the mix. Not only that, the guitars occasionally soften to join the melodic influences. There is even a single on the song "Year One," provided by Mark Tremonti of Alter Bridge. I am not sure what to think of that, Alter Bridge is not an act that comes to mind when I think of Bury Your Dead.

If I didn't know better, and I really don't, I'd say the band may actually be maturing. Youthful excesses of their prior albums slipping away as they move into the future? No, I don't think it is that extreme, but does seem apparent they are experimenting more with their songwriting and orchestrations. There is nothing wrong with that.

Do not be afraid, the music is still heavy and punishing, it is just a little more rounded. This may sound a little odd, but I read the band described as Sevendust on steroids; a comment that is somewhat accurate. That can be read as a negative, depending on your views of Sevendust, but it still works here, as strange as it sounds.

Bottomline. This is a good album, featuring solid musical performances, and great production quality. If you like heavy music, you should give these guys a shot. They will not redefine your world, but you just may find yourself getting into the catchy hardcore grooves.



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