EP Review: BURY THE KINGS V
I think we can all agree that the metalcore and deathcore scenes hit a hard dead end in somewhat recent years. They became rife with cliches and redundancy. As bands from that wave began to mature alongside other new forward-thinking acts, I unfortunately saw a similar trend in the progressive metalcore and deathcore scene with a tsunami of djent-heavy, prog-core groups crawling out from the woodwork. While a large majority of projects within this style are quite talented, the novelty soon wore off and the stereotypes began to show. For these reasons, I always have caution when approaching a new heavy, progressive band.
In the case of Bury the Kings, I actually felt relieved there weren't any obvious influences butting their heads to the extent of worship. After taking in the EP, I have a gist of what musical circles that Bury the Kings dip their toes into inspiration wise. Nothing is blatant and in your face, which is truly refreshing. For example, the intro of "You're Gone" reminded me of The Fragile-era Nine Inch Nails. I have my doubts that the band is influenced much by the industrial realm, but the slight usage of samples and atmosphere used in a few of this EP's tracks could be traced back to that genre.
Onto the actual meat of this record, Bury the Kings most definitely bring beefy riffs to the table. "Hurt" is a bit more of an adventurous track than the prior crowd pleaser. It begins with a pummeling momentum alike fellow Aussies Thy Art is Murder, but eventually settles in for a more bouncy groove similar to Emmure's latest LP. As the record continues, the musical spectrum expands, opting for more melodic metalcore moments. "Take Me With You" along with "Skin and Blood" balance a Veil of Maya or Fallujah ferocity before touching upon a more Sworn In nu-metalcore vibe. The closing piece, "Goodbye," is the most anthemic piece. The dynamics sometimes feel a tad awkward and strung out, yet nonetheless, I appreciate the experimentation.
With the musical aspect sometimes peeking outside the comfort zone, the vocals follow suit. Bailey Schembri has an impressive amount of vocal deliveries at his disposal. His range and execution can be comparable to the likes of Within the Ruins, Upon a Burning Body, Fit for an Autopsy, and even King 810 during certain verses. Clean vocals do arrive by the third track, however, I think they serve the music well and never become annoying or whiny.
As for some negatives I ran into, there inevitably were some stereotypes present. "Hurt" has a vocal stanza that states, "where is your God now?," which is just an eye-rolling cliche to shout out in this day and age. Furthermore, there was a siren sample played during the same track, another overdone cringy cliche.
In the end, I feel pretty satisfied after consuming this five-track EP. I knew little of this band prior to hearing this release and I'll admit that my interests are piqued. I don't feel that V is breaking any boundaries, but it revived my confidence in the progressive metalcore/deathcore scene regarding the fact that up-and-coming acts are still able to pack high energy and interesting ideas together successfully. While I did name drop many other bands throughout this review, I do think that Bury the Kings have a strong identity and I look forward to hearing them further this sound in later releases.