Burial in the Sky – The Consumed Self (2021) – Review

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Didn’t the RMR supreme council decide that tech death was out of scope for the time being? I think they did. Yet, our feisty deckhands constantly defy orders and bring more and more of those virulent vibes to bear on our already strained resources.

Well, it looks like sometimes, the avalanche of metal rushing down at us suddenly becomes a force unto itself and takes over. Especially when you get exceedingly well-written records that somehow navigate outside of the known pathways to glory.

Oh, and if you thought that Archspire got all the brownie points for the sexiest tech death piece in 2021, come again. Because Burial in the Sky with their new stage burner The Consumed Self will get yer juices flowing almost just as good. Almost.

Albeit that this band sports some sort of a weird mix of Technical and Progressive Death Metal. A mélange of haunting saxophone melodies, post metal excesses, and sudden brutal outbursts of Death Metal straight from the pit of hell. You know, this special brand that ditched the comfortable gurgling and – instead – goes for the jugular with some rusty tools. And they do that with in-your-face growls and rasps that – suddenly – make way for misty clears with progressive airs to match. Funny, huh? The RMR deckhands here never quite thought that possible. But then, a Burial in the Sky also sounds quite impossible, right?

It is a hot ‘n’ cold treatment that truly made us pay attention to this record more than many others out there. Yet, this crazy mix of (usually incompatible) styles took us some time to get into.1) And it is only now that the time was right to tackle this review. Or maybe, this reviewer’s brain needed to be fried enough first. Whatever comes first, I guess.

But make no mistake. The Consumed Self is a cool record with a ton of metallic geekery built right into its thread. The first half of the record focuses predominantly on the harsh realities of the Death Metal world with much less proggish fluff than further down the tracklist. It is here that some wild excursion into some exotic metal truly delighted us. Like On Wings Of Providence with its wild solos and red-hot riffing. With An Orphaned City coming in at a close second. These two had us returning to this particular well a few times.

Now, the B-side will get you more of that progressive vibe. Case in point, Mountains Pt. 2 Empathy truly rocked us to the core with its laid-back groove and tons of prog delights. Actually, both of the Mountains Pt. series are – without a doubt – the filet piece of the whole album.

All those metallic treats reach down from Wayfarer with its weirdly combined saxophone/guitar solo, down to Anatomy of Us, that strange afterthought of some 12 1/2 minutes. The latter pushes the envelope with eerie ambient passages, over outstanding riffs, to this short interlude straight from Pink Floyd’s Division Bell. But, the B-side here sports this tendency to go large. And maybe too large. With a few loops too many in this strange pottage of harsh sounds and wind instruments.

Finally, let me stress that the RMR crew here are newbies to the richly decorated table Burial in the Sky presents us with. This also means that you get our view unencumbered by an intimate knowledge of former records of this band.

So, for this crew here, The Consumed Self is a record that actually worked – despite itself. It filled us with some trepidation, though. Many times over, attempts to glue vastly opposite styles together failed miserably. Yet here, the often roughly joined elements of indeed monumentally different directions do in the end work out.

And taken in as a whole, the record indeed starts to feel like a homogenous entity. And that – yet again – is something that doesn’t quite make sense. But it works perfectly. So, if you fancy yer tech and prog death with a snazzy twist that dwells where the incompatible magically connects, The Consumed Self may well be for you.

Give it a shot.

Record Rating: 7/10 | LabelRising Nemesis Records | Web: Facebook (band)
Release Date: 13 August 2021


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