Words fae Oliver Butler (@notoliverbutler)
Without hyperbole, Bury Tomorrow are one of the future flagbearers for modern metal. History has a habit of repeating itself, and with bands like Architects & While She Sleeps also bringing their melodic metal sounds to the mainstream, we could be on the crest of a new New Wave of British Heavy Metal. Bury Tomorrow seem to think so as well, as with their new album Black Flame, there’s an evolution and a familiarity, but overall, a statement that says “we’re coming for you”. Earthbound primed the engines, Black Flame will launch Bury Tomorrow into the upper echelons of music.
Familiar in its open, No Less Violent begins with a gentle melody, with Dani Winter-Bates’ screams slowly fading into a thunderous riff. It sounds like Bury Tomorrow, but it sounds like they sat down to make this record, to make the last four look average in comparison. The guitars sound angrier, the drums crack like thunder, Dani’s screams seem more violet, Jason Cameron’s clean vocals sound absolutely pristine. The whole thing seems more polished, shinier in a sonic sense, whilst keeping the same grit and gravel that make Bury Tomorrow so good. There’s just a certain je ne sais quoi to this album that makes it stand out. The game was there to be upped, and they’ve upped it massively.
Adrenaline is like you’re being shot, with a quick thunder of drums breaking straight into the riff. The mix of clean and unclean vocals seems more organised and coupled than on previous records. It’s comparable to an old school Formula One car; it’s frantic, fast, frightening, but everything is perfectly under control in the hands of experts. The band have their sound by the scruff of its neck and are pushing it on the ragged edge. The solos feel a lot clearer as well, with a more classic feel to them, forming their own separate part of the song.
Lead single Black Flame has an extended, synth based outro and still has as much bite as when it was first released. An interesting side note on Black Flame; the band faced criticism from the way Jason’s vocals sounded on the original release, so they took it down, remixed it and re-released it. See how some bands throw their toys out the cot when criticised? Not these guys. Black Flame feels like it was written specifically for the live stage, with its absolutely monolithic, fist pumping chorus.
The problem with this album is that it’s hard to put your finger on where the high point is, because, quite frankly, this album will be a pivotal moment in Bury Tomorrow’s career, if not a pivotal moment in the future of modern metal. However, to find a real treat, you’ll have to wait until the very end of the album, with Overcast feeling as dark and as heavy as the grey clouds it takes its name from. Jason feels really comfortable in his role as clean vocalist as well. However, it’s Dani’s screams of “For forgiveness // do you feel it too? // this is more than hate // this is murder” before bursting into a murky breakdown.
Lyrically as well, the album is quite profound, with a particular highlight coming on More Than Mortal
“I never wanted it to be like this // I’m still locked inside my head // And now you’re looking at me like I’m going to save you // But really I’m the one who’s fading”
Again, on this song, Jason provides some excellent clean vocals on the chorus. Whilst it’s not a new thing, as song like An Honourable Reign, Man on Fire and Last Light have showcased the trade between Dani & Jason, again, it just feels like they’re doing this… but better. It feels more comfortable, more confident, as showcased on the vocals in More Than Mortal.
Another highlight is Knife of Gold. If Black Flame was written to be played live for its monolithic, fist pumping chorus, Knife of Gold was written for the mosh pit. Clocking in at just under three minutes, it’s a front to back excuse to turn any venue into a human washing machine, and with this album, it might translate to arenas before too long…
Currently, as we write, Black Flame is 11th in the UK album charts, with no mainstream radio play, jut based on the support of people purchasing this album. Last year, While She Sleeps got to number 8 with You Are We, and Architects got to 15th with All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us. When you also consider the sheer amount of albums moving through the charts on a weekly basis, with other artists finding comfortable positions in the top 20, for metal to penetrate the mainstream like this is big. Whilst your dad, Matt Tuck from Bullet For My Valentine has declared that metal has “gone a bit stale” (sure that smell just wasn’t Gravity, Matt?), the stratospheric chart positions achieved by metal bands over the last few years proves that we’re beginning to see three British metal bands assert their own dominance in the UK music scene. All three will one day make the step up to headline festivals, and begin to fill arenas (something Architects did this year).
The album closer is hugely important too; it’s where the credits roll and where everything you’ve just listened to begins to sink in, and with Peacekeeper, you get that perfect crescendo to the end of the album; complete with the reverberating, gently plucked bridge, the reverb on Dani’s screams delivering more violence and a real lighters in the air feeling to the whole song.
Front to back, this album is just perfect, and will become one of the milestones in the eventual metal dominance of Bury Tomorrow. This is the album that will open them up to new fans, bigger venues, higher festival slots and allow them to continue to penetrate the mainstream with their melodic metal. Metal has never, ever died, or gone away, but with albums like Black Flame, the wave of British heavy metal will only grow larger, crashing on the shore with devastating effect. Bury Tomorrow are coming, prepare your ears.