You can’t please everyone, but who cares?
Review by Kristian Pugh
Release date: 7 August 2015
Stability tends to be a term used relatively loosely in metal. In fact it’s the unpredictability that lies within most bands that often manages to keep efforts and mind-sets fresh; the thought that, within an instant the whole dynamic of the band can change. Australia’s Buried In Verona are no exception to this, since their formation in 2007, the band have spouted several member changes, so much so that only one member from the original set up remains, that being vocalist Brett Anderson.
Member changes aside, the bands’ sound has often been unpredictable too, at times; skull splitting metalcore, at others a more stripped back melodic metal. The five-piece have an incredibly useful knack of making both styles work for them, something they have used to their advantage several times over the last 8 years.
Latest release Vultures Above, Lions Below follows in the same vein as more recent Buried In Verona records, with more harmonies, bite and potential sing-alongs. Tracks such as ‘Vultures Above’ and ‘Separation’ are where Anderson sounds at his most aggressive, and while neither boast the most creative lyricism from the front-man both have enough crunch about them that those hoping for a Buried In Verona of old will feel satisfied here.
There are times in the record when the mantle is almost wholly passed to clean vocalist Richie Newman, and at times, unsuccessfully so. ‘Dig Me Out’ and ‘Hurricane’ have an aura of blandness surrounding them, and although both carry a big chorus that promises a lot, it’s generally what surrounds them that brings them down, with ‘Dig Me Out’ not really coming to life until a 30 second onslaught from Anderson at the back-end of the song.
The real beauty of Vultures Above, Lions Below can be found where there is an ensemble of melody, aggression and anthem. Best track on the album – ‘Unbroken’ is a perfect example of this, including just enough rage from Anderson and vocal perfection from Newman to produce an anthemic/sing-along style track that could stand and defend itself against any big metal song you’re likely to have heard so far this year.
A more anthemic style seems to be a theme throughout many of the songs on this record, and while this may not please the more historic Buried In Verona fan, it is undoubtedly where the band currently sound at home. ‘Done For Good’ and ‘Bring Me Home’ are tracks just waiting to be thrown into a live set, with their constant and irresistible transition between pedal-pushing metal and arm-raising melody it’s clear that Buried In Verona are pursuing a feeling of togetherness for the audience, as opposed to down-right force.
At this point, Buried In Verona are most likely aware that they can’t please everyone, and they’re probably okay with it. Because with Vultures Above, Lions Below they have created something that’s as good as they’ve ever produced and should see them through to their next record, or next few member changes, at least.
7 out of 10
- Vultures Above
- Dig Me Out
- Can’t Be Unsaid
- Done For Good
- Bring Me Home
- Lions Below