Review Summary: Seems just about everyone has a sax these days…
The world of extreme music is nothing if not expansive. With just about every descriptor being used to usher in sub genre after sub genre, it’s a wonder musicians haven’t run out of ideas. Despite all this variance and willingness to push the boundaries of metal together there’s always going to be bands that fail to combine the differing soundscapes, mismatching and under producing on the intended result. Imagine a toddler putting together a thousand piece puzzle. It’s a painful process filled with wrong pieces in the wrong spots, frustrating in its uselessness and completely at odds with the child preventing a helpful hand. If we’re stuck making comparisons, Burial In The Sky is the toddler… and Creatio Et Hominus
is the thousand piece puzzle.
Crude comparisons aside, Burial In The Sky’s sophomore piece does have all the markings of a solid death metal record. But the gripes are too many and of such magnitude that ignoring them becomes an issue within itself. Instrumentally, the band’s music is “all there”. The lead work of James Tomedi has the earmarks of a dynamic modern metal player. At any given moment he turns melodic ringing notes into an onslaught of frenzied riffing, while alternating between noodling progressive wankery and Machiavellian-shred solo sections. There’s no doubt that the Pennsylvanian’s can wield their instruments, but it’s the album’s overall songwriting that prevents Creatio Et Hominus
from reaching the top echelons death metal has to offer. Creatio Et Hominus
is a disjointed mashing of the group’s premiere progressive death metal sound that has more resemblance to pre-demo recordings than a fully fledged and marketed sophomore album.
With album opener, “Nexus” offering samples of what Burial In The Sky can compose circa 2018, the unfocused, albeit talented members of the band showcase an ability to both earn and lose their listeners within the first few minutes. Light meandering tones melt into a gentle saxophone lead. Zach Strouse’s (Rivers Of Nihil) management of that particular instrument does speak volumes of the band’s overall talent, but instead adds to the banality of their music, crowding the sound pool.
When you take the band’s core sounds into consideration, Creatio Et Hominus
must have had a difficult recording. With the exit of vocalist Jimmy Murphy (who managed to record his piece on Tesla before departing) and the inclusion of Jorel Hart (ex-Cognitive) who handles the other tracks’ vocal work, the finishing touches lack the cohesion of a band that has had the time to develop together. Regardless of the band’s technical proficiency, and the tendency to focus on what would normally be an instrumentally charged death metal record the group’s two sides conflict and separate. The analogy continues… some pieces to the puzzle just aren’t fitting together.
When the music does “click” the redeeming qualities are too far and few between to lift Burial To The Sky’s music away from mere adequacy. “The Pivotal Flame” stands to highlight the group’s new album and is the most concise and altogether showcasing of the band’s songwriting on the new album. The sensual noodling of the track’s middle bridges the gap between expressive tone and technicality before climbing back into the realms of modern death metal. Combined with the flamboyant passages found in “Psalms Of The Deviant” that replicate the heaviness found in the debut and the slow build of the completely instrumental title track, Creatio Et Hominus
’s puzzle starts to become clearer around the edges. It’s in these moments that James Tomedi’s potential in songwriting are achieved.
There’s no denying that there’s a lot going on within Creatio Et Hominus
’s thirty six minute run time. While largely unfocused, Burial In The Sky’s 2018 effort does show the potential just waiting in the wings. For Burial In The Sky to successfully bridge all things progressive and death metal they’ll need to stop conforming to current trends, spending a little less time with a saxophone and a lot more time focusing on actual song writing. Creatio Et Hominus
shouldn’t be built off simply pushing ideas together and hoping they stick. The toddler in the room is already doing exactly that.