Bury Tomorrow have come a LONG way since I first laid eyes on them over a decade ago. On that day in 2006, if my memory serves me correctly, the band looked a bit different and had a Keyboard involved in their music as well. I was there to see my mates band (Almost Home) and was completely taken aback by Bury Tomorrow and their energetic and powerful performance. I bought their EP The Sleep of the Innocents and they have been on my radar ever since. In fact, when they released their debut full length Portraits in 2009, I had no money and my girlfriend (now wife) was working back in her hometown for a year. Such was my desire to have that album on release day I harassed her until she ordered it for me.
The Hampshire 5 piece have gone up the chain plenty since that debut album.
Black Flame is now their 5th album and third in their current line-up of Daniel Winter-Bates (Vocals), Jason Cameron (Guitars & Clean vocals), Kristan Dawson (Lead Guitars), Davyd Winter-Bates (Bass) and Adam Jackson (Drums). Their first two albums (the aforementioned Portraits and The Union of Crowns) did plenty to propel them in to the spotlight, even if the latter nearly didn’t emerge and the band nearly didn’t survive a horrible sounding dispute with their then record label.
But, mercifully, the band survived and they have been growing in stature and quality ever since. 2014’s Runes showed their past label “Here’s what you could have won”, with live favourite Man On Fire its centre piece, and 2016’s Earthbound showcasing some on their fastest and heaviest material in their history. The key with all of it though, is that each album has shown progression, more maturity and an evolution of their sound. Black Flame is no different.
Opener ‘No Less Violent’ kicks things off pretty powerfully. For those unfamiliar with Bury Tomorrow’s dual vocal attack, Winter-Bates is possessing of a truly epic guttural scream which sounds as though it’s coming from the depths of his soul whilst Cameron has an almost other worldly singing voice, sounding in places a lot like Alexisonfire’s Dallas Green, with a bit more power behind it. The opening track is a perfect trade off of styles, with neither stealing the limelight but not doing the track a disservice either. The riffs are BIG, very Architects like. The tempo lends itself to mosh friendly crowds and the musicianship is tight.
Next up is ‘Adrenaline’ which is a circle pit monster. Straight out the traps with a fast paced riff and Winter-Bates huge screams, the track will excite live crowds. A quite Djenty breakdown riff in the middle is a brief change of style from BT, but it suits them perfectly.
The title track is also the first single to emerge from this album and it got my attention straight away on first listen. A palm muted riff from Cameron and a really tasteful tapping melody from Dawson usher the song in before more standard metal riffery takes over. It’s the chorus where this song wins me over though. We should all know by now that I am a sucker for a memorable melody, and the chorus here is an absolute BANGER, “Lost soul in the unmarked grave, we have given a name, Black flame, In death we are all the same, remain, black flame”. There is a wonderful solo from Dawson as well (something sadly lacking from a lot of Metalcore these days) which makes this a stand out track for me. The video can be found here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITTOS1otEuk ).
‘My Revenge’ lulls you in to a false sense of security with its mid tempo chorus kicking the song off before it really kicks in to gear for the verses. ‘More than Mortal’ cuts out the crap and just punches you straight in the face with big riffs and ferocious screaming before a huge chorus from Cameron swathes in. This track is very Killswitch Engage and you can see it being a huge fan favourite when BT take this album out on the road, particularly with the huge, pit friendly breakdown at 1:50.
‘Knife of Gold’ caught me completely off guard. I wasn’t ready for the high pitched scream and blast beats (particularly when listening at half 7 in the morning on my drive to work). The haunting choruses juxtapose the verses perfectly and again, fans of their live performances will love the bounce along riff that arrives after the first chorus.
Recent single ‘The Age’ has a more radio friendly feel to it than the other tracks on this album, with its bouncy drum parts and dreamy chorus melodies, it’s sure to win over a whole legion of new Bury Tomorrow fans. The video can be found here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yjb8byK8bCg ).
‘Stormbringer’ is back to the circle pit friendly riffery we have heard in the rest of the album and this time it’s straight in with thrash riffs and fast pedalled drums. There is a big breakdown again around the 2 minute mark which will initiate violence in many pits across the globe.
If (like me) you can cast your mind back to Bury Tomorrow’s debut (Portraits), you will be able to draw comparisons between ‘Overcast’ and ‘These Woods Aren’t Safe For Us’. A track dominated by Cameron’s epic clean vocals with a memorable chorus hook (“He has murderous intent, I am certain of it, it will never be the same, it will never be the same”) it rarely gets above mid tempo and will be a brief respite at live shows, as it is here.
Final track ‘Peacekeeper’ with its rapid screamed vocals and guitar harmonies is a great closer to this record. It showcases all of Bury Tomorrow’s strengths. Melody, heaviness, song writing and an eye for a killer melody. As the songs slows, you become aware that Bury Tomorrow are a band growing in stature, going through evolution instead of revolution and still at all times releasing banger after banger.
I have listened to this album several times on repeat. Just one listen straight into another. I am not bored of it. It is in no way a boring listen. But in summary ‘Black Flame’ doesn’t break free from the shackles often found in modern Metalcore. It doesn’t really try to. The band isn’t trying to break away from what has bought them their success, instead, the album embraces those shackles and then pummels you with them.
You *slap* will *slap* love *slap* this *slap* album *slap*.
And I do love it. I really do.
Bury Tomorrow Facebook – https://en-gb.facebook.com/BuryTomorrow/
‘Black Flame’ Track list:
No Less Violent
More than Mortal
Knife of Gold