Hampshire, UK is home to Bury Tomorrow who having been recently signed with independent metal giants, Nuclear Blast, have just unleashed their sophomore album, The Union Of Crowns. The five-piece who are completed by vocalist Daniel Winter Bates, brother and bassist Davyd Winter Bates, clean vocalist/guitarist Jason Cameron, drummer Adam Jackson and guitarist Mehdi Vismara, formed in 2006; setting out to be something new in an over-processed scene of copycats. They released their debut LP, Portraits in 2009 to critical acclaim and since then, have toured the world demolishing cities one earth-shattering breakdown at a time with the likes of rising Yanks, Of Mice & Men and fellow Brits, Asking Alexandria.
2012’s The Union Of Crowns, with its Monarchy themed track list, hopes to cement these local lads as a metalcore band that stands the test of time. At the time of writing, Bury Tomorrow’s second LP has already managed to attain astounding chart success, both in their home country and internationally. This includes bagging a not-to-be-sniffed-at No. 6 in the UK’s Official Rock Chart just underneath Slash’s Apocalyptic Love.
So, just what has been garnering the attention of not only the world’s metal fans but apparently the usually sceptical (and biased) media? The answer lies in an impressively large fourteen-track release that opens confidently with ‘Redeemer’; his mammoth-sized riffs and crushing breakdowns a sign of what’s to come. Jason’s empowering vocals rise above the blast as he implores “Oh shallow man for this is not the end. The time has come for strength, please don’t give in!”; a great contrast next to Daniel’s venomous lyrical attacks. This rolls nicely into the high-energy metalcore assault of ‘The Maiden’. Double-kick drum beatdowns and machine-gun paced axe thrashing reign supreme, however the quintet also pull out some impressive technical string wizardry behind the feral verses. ‘Lionheart’; the album’s first single, is a powerful high-speed ride that echoes a punk/hardcore style in its rapid delivery. There’s a great underlying melody which is a huge and powerful weapon in Bury Tomorrow’s already bulging arsenal. Once again, Jason’s strong and passionate clean tone gives the track a heart which is usually lacking in most band’s of this genre.
WATCH // 'Lionheart'
‘Message to a King’ is a vicious, enraged beast to begin with; Daniel mauls with his now recognisable, harsh throaty technique whilst Adam’s envious kit skills are all-conquering. As the song progresses, the softer but no less powerful vocals become more dominant and just about restrain it from completely annihilating your ear-drums; a plus for me.
‘An Honourable Reign’ is the most melodic here and an obvious but great choice for a single if I ever heard one. Mehdi demonstrates notable skill here; a more intricate guitar melody at his fingertips that nicely compliments the crushing metal riffery underneath. The word ‘soaring’ gets kicked about a lot in most metalcore acts with dual singers, but here it couldn’t be more appropriate or better pulled off here.
“Reign upon me! How will I survive? Try and tell me a way to feel alive. Bring it back to life, to whole new heights and tell me what is needed...” Jason belts out in the all too contagious Lord Of The Rings sized choruses. Aside from the massive melodies, you get your fix of heavy testosterone-filled metal; Davyd’s quaking bass notes providing the backdrop to a mosh-worthy breakdown in the track’s final minute.
WATCH // ‘An Honourable Reign’
One of the heaviest tracks here is the newly announced single ‘Knight Life’; the vocals seeming more guttural and urgent than previous. However, once again, they manage to balance it out with another stunning clean melody line. Followed closely by ‘Royal Blood’ (yet another single), it immediately explodes into a battering of rapid-fire drumming and hammering guitars which forge the fast and furious verses. As the choruses kick in, the brutality dissipates for a moment letting the vast melody engulf your senses and ride the song home. It's from here, The Union Of Crowns’ half-way mark, that there’s a string of tracks that just about manage to keep this majestic release flowing like a well-oiled metal machine.
‘Bitemarks’, ‘Abdication of Power’ and ‘Kingdom’ all equally march through with a relentless energy, discordant stabbing guitars and more high-octane rhythms that are smothered with sumptuous melodies. Although in a 180° turn, a hugely unexpected soft lone piano melody opens ‘1603’, which screams with ambition throughout. The serene start soon evolves but a sense of control is maintained as beautiful guitar solos resonate on top of troubled words – “I feel alone, I fear I won’t get through this. All this has shown the truth in the madness”.
WATCH // 'Royal Blood'
It’s more than clear at this point that the band have the skill and the passion for making big music that makes a big impact, but their desire to grow is something that shines brightly above all. Its tracks like this that show they’re ready to take metal to a new level and that the goal doesn’t always have to be tearing your face off.
‘Sceptres’ is a final shove from behind that boasts a slower metal groove with a chugging rhythm that storms into battle not yielding for a moment. No clean vocal melodies here; just a full-on barrage of quick and clever shredding on top of the frontman’s assertive throaty roars. To finish, the band pull out one final trick from up their sleeves...Much like ‘1603’, ‘A Curse’ is a hugely ambitious number that echoes their vision of the band’s future; to become more than just your average metalcore band. An unashamedly melodious opening is glorious and as a guitar solo grows and climaxes, it blossoms into an almost 80’s hard-rock tribute which the already mentioned Slash and his ol’ pals would relish in. It’s a bizarre comparison, but it reminds me of the scene in Bill & Ted where they’re transported into the future and people are playing the air guitar to their as-yet unreleased epic stadium hit which booms around the room. “Be excellent to each other...”
Tagged as multiple genres including the spot-on ‘melodic metalcore’ and the more literal (and hilarious) ‘makes my balls explode’, Bury Tomorrow have grown in leaps and bounds since their 2009 debut. British metal has never sounded so strong or been more of a contender to our friends across the sea. The Union Of Crowns is a stunning release which couldn’t be more representative of this countrys' growing musical talent this year. With equal amounts of intensity, focus and melody, it puts them on top of the podium right now. As the band themselves defiantly declare “We are the crown”.
The Union Of Crowns is out now
Worth Listening To...
- The Maiden
- An Honorable Reign
- Knight Life