Sunday, 15 July 2012

Bury Tomorrow - The Union of Crowns (Review)

Bury Tomorrow - The Union of Crowns [Metalcore]

Bury Tomorrow are a British metalcore band; their newest album The Union of Crowns was released on the 13th of July. Founded and formed in 2006 by two brothers (vocalist Daniel Winter-Bates and bassist Davyd Winter-Bates) and three of their friends (guitarists Jason Cameron and Mehdi Vismara and drummer Adam Jackson), the band has released two EPs and two full-length studio albums, the latest of which is The Union of Crowns.

Standout features of the band's music, particularly in this album, are the band's preference for the mid-tempo number instead of the typical modern-day speed fest, and the dual vocals of Daniel Winter-Bates (primary screamer and secondary clean) and Jason Cameron (primary clean). Bates' warm metalcore growl is a nice contrast to the thin, shrieky screams of many modern metalcore bands (hi Trivium); Cameron is a solid rock/metal vocalist in his own right as well.

'Redeemer', the first track off The Union of Crowns, displays many stereotypical metalcore elements, such as the cut-time passage starting at around 1:10 and the liberal use of harmonised/contrapuntal guitar riffs and breaks. The band members mainly employ clean vocals (the entire chorus is sung clean in fact) in this song; there are a few well-placed screamed verses that show off the band members' diversity. Overall, the album kicks off in a very 'safe' and measured manner - the first track is nothing too over-the-top or explosive; rather, 'just the right amount' of each of their key features is showcased alongside the usual metalcore cliches.

'The Maiden' is the second track off this album and frankly should have been the opening track. One thing that stands out about this track is the pristine diction shown by Winter-Bates in his screamed vocals; I actually played the video and tabbed away to Soccernet (yes I know it was a lyric video and I perhaps should have instinctively stayed on page to refer to the lyrics) and was surprised to find that I could actually make out what Winter-Bates was screaming, English accent and all. The song's strong, energetic beginning and middle section - characterised by Winter-Bates' signature roars - is however tampered by the superfluous and frankly fairly annoying clean/harmonised instrumental bit at 2:49, but overall the song is clearly more impactful than 'Redeemer' is.

Now we arrive at the album's single, 'An Honourable Reign', listed as track five in the album. The band channels some Scar Symmetry in this track - minus, of course, Per Nilsson's blinding guitar solos - and coming from a huge SS fan this is a major compliment. The downtuned guitars, dual vocals and controlled changes in tempo lend this song a very Scar Symmetry-esque feel, the bit at 1:10 onwards a particular highlight. An astute choice of single from the band, who it must be said are a mature outfit despite the relative young age of the members.

Overall, this album is an above-average collection of metalcore tracks that does not display any remarkable musical diversity or ingenuity, but has strong genre 'fundamentals', particularly where the vocals are concerned. The lack of guitar solos in this album is a downer for me, but maybe that is not the band's usual style anyway.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ Average - Half of album is listenable

- JE

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