It has been a slow but steady build for Southampton metalcore band Bury Tomorrow. They have been around for longer than most people might actually think, releasing debut album Portraits (Basick) way back in 2009 and they have always been just behind the forefront of the scene in the UK and indeed mainland Europe, where they have a sizeable following but never quite breaking through into that next echelon. Last album Earthbound (Nuclear Blast) was somewhat of a turning point ensuring a lot more eyes are now trained on them.
Black Flame (Music For Nations) is a record, therefore, where the band can really cement their place in metal; a chance to expand and grow, taking their now well-known sound and honing it into an altogether different beast.
The first change is subtle but effective, when opening track ‘No Less Violent’ kicks in with some slow building synths before vocalist Dani Winter-Bates launches into the mosh pit inducing rally cry of “Because I’m no less violent” and the band completely pummel your face with slabs of thick, layered guitars and brutal rhythmic drums. From this opening salvo there appears to be nothing that can stand in this albums, or indeed this bands, way.
The guitars of lead men Kristian Dawson and Jason Cameron are on a different level to previous albums. There is a lot more texture to the riffs and, more than that, the tone. When certain riffs kick in, like the chug towards the end of ‘Adrenaline’, there’s almost a Meshuggah or Periphery type feel to the rhythm and sound of the instruments.
‘Knife Of Gold’ is also something different, and is probably the band’s heaviest song since ‘Sceptres’ from Union of Crowns (Nuclear Blast). Here the guitars are more gnarly and thrashy whilst the vocals are very akin to Randy Blythe from Lamb Of God, in particular, that opening scream… Oh my! That opening scream will make the hair on the back of your neck stand up, and mosh their follicles off.
The flip side to all of this heaviness, both familiar and new, is the melody, something which Bury Tomorrow have always had in absolute spades. More than just a backup vocalist to Dani, Cameron is one of metal’s secret weapons – the man simply has so much soul in his voice and evokes so much emotion through his singing that choruses simply make you soar and take you to a different place. ‘Black Flame’ ‘My Revenge’ and ‘More Than Mortal’ are just simply must-haves for the live set with Cameron stamping his mark on all of them.
‘The Age’, though, is easily one of, if not the best songs they’ve written to date and Cameron just knocks it out of the park. The musicality of the more melodic songs is also different from previous albums feeling more like bands like Northlane and there is a more expansive feel to the music.
Is Black Flame an important record for Bury Tomorrow? It sure is, but it is far more than that, and that can be seen in the care and the craft that these songs have been written with. I feel that this is the album they have always had within them, the album that they were meant to write; one where everything comes together and pushes them to greater heights.