Review Summary: Bury Tomorrow give a competent if unspectacular performance.
A common sound is being adopted particularly by British metalcore bands at current (Johnny Truant/Evita/Azriel etc). A new breed of melodic metalcore has been born. Systematic palm mutes drive what is often a mid paced rhythm, only Johnny Truant cross the borders into death metal paced rhythms out of the aforementioned bands. Riffs are focused on neo melodic death metal, arguably much of this influence is borrowed from their scandanavian counterparts. Single note breakdowns are regularly used but provide moments of intense energy at the bands' live shows. This is of course not new at all, except they are produced to create a more live sounding album when compared to their American metalcore counterparts. Bury Tomorrow's first full length "Portraits" is essentially marketed to those who attend shows regularly, building upon the band's excellent reputation in the UK for its live performances as well as the album's murky production.
Portraits' production is a total contrast to the altogether cleaner Joey Sturgis style of overproduction (We Came As Romans) which includes typically an autotuner for the clean vocalist and mechanically full sounding drums as well as various techniques creating a razor sharp guitar sound. Bury Tomorrow however opt for gravelly guitars and muddy sounding drums, arguably to accentuate the supersonic highs of clean vocalist Jason Cameron.
Essentially Portraits comes across as another 'by the numbers' metalcore release in which Bury Tomorrow rarely deviates from their comfort zone of generic verse/chorus/verse/breakdown/chorus song structure. The musicianship is competent though rarely spectacular. They do however possess a sizeable asset in clean vocalist Cameron, who successfully manages to give what would otherwise be a drab, generic record the X Factor, pouring out his serene vocals to particularly superb effect in “You and I” and in first track “Confessions”. The band are evidently aware they have little else to separate themselves from their other British counterparts besides their undoubtedly talented clean vocalist and the focus of their music is developed to suit his voice. Simple melodic leads are picked by lead guitarist providing ample opportunity for Cameron to light up their tracks. These melodies have a particularly large influence in the more post hardcore influenced rerecordings of their EP songs, “Casting Shapes” and "These Woods Aren't Safe For Us".
Lead vocalist Danni Winter-Bates showcases a fairly satisfactory range of vocals interchanging often between low pitch guttural screams and high pitch shrieks. His talent is nothing out of the ordinary but it provides a neccessary variation. Bates' low pitch screams grow irritatingly monotonous as the record progresses however he has a talent for single note grunts which is something not exhibited by too many metalcore vocalists. This can be heard in the title track "Portraits". One feels his part in the grand scheme of things is important.
The drums are also far from remarkable, he rarely ventures from pedestrian mid paced paced rhythms and any deviation usually involves the exercising of his double bass pedals. The drumming performance characterises the band as a whole in many senses, competent but mechanical. The bass is of course largely inaudible in amongst the metallic barrage and generally the musicianship leaves a bit to be desired, especially when one considers the level of musicianship and excellent use of complex time signatures on the recently released Echo Verses by British math metalcore band The Arusha Accord. A band who it could be argued is a competitor in breaking out of the metalcore underground in Britain.
Having said this though, Bury Tomorrow focus their music on the same melodic metalcore niche Evita tried their hand at and they offer a completely different, albeit more listenable experience which for one reason or another I find to be enjoyable.
You and I