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Bury Tomorrow - "The Union Of Crowns" (CD)

Bury Tomorrow - "The Union Of Crowns" CD cover image

"The Union Of Crowns" track listing:

1. Redeemer
2. The Maiden
3. Lionheart
4. Message To A King
5. An Honorable Reign
6. Knight Life
7. Royal Blood
8. Bitemarks
9. Abdication Of Power
10. Kingdom
11. 1603
12. Sceptres
13. Vacant Throne
14. A Curse

Reviewed by on October 19, 2012

"In all fairness, had Bury Tomorrow's 'The Union Of Crowns' come out three or four years ago, back when the metalcore genre felt much fresher than it does today, I probably would've been much more impressed with it."

In all fairness, had Bury Tomorrow's "The Union Of Crowns" come out three or four years ago, back when the metalcore genre felt much fresher than it does today, I probably would've been much more impressed with it. As it stands, the album is technically proficient, and, although it relies quite a bit on the usual metalcore schtick of blending melodic and death-growl vocals, along with shifts from almost punky bounce to angry double-bass bashing and crunch, it gets the job done well.

On a technical level, these British bashers accomplish plenty of impressive feats. Take, for example, the stuttering opening of "Abdication Of Power," which relies on an almost telepathic rapport between drummer Adam Jackson and Davyd Winter-Bates on bass, as well as guitarists Jason Cameron and Mehdi Vismara. The opener, "Redeemer," also offers plenty of contrasts.

The blending of clean vocals and screams works well on stuff like "The Maiden" and "Lionheart," which give Daniel Winter-Bates (who handles lead vocals and screaming), as well as Cameron on clean vocals, plenty of space to operate independently. That said, by the time "Vacant Throne" comes around, the trade-offs start feeling a little old.

Even when the metalcore cliches start to wear, Vismara's lead guitar lines are invariably impressive. I was particularly impressed with a beautiful electric lead near the middle of the closing track, "A Curse," but the more frantic solos are also quite excellent.

Even so, the best playing can't disguise the fact that the album embraces a style that has lost quite a bit of freshness since the early days of Shadows Fall and Trivium (who have both largely left it behind on recent releases).

So yeah, Bury Tomorrow's "The Union Of Crowns" is heavy on technical proficiency — and has its share of thrilling moments. For this listener, at least, there was also a dated feeling that was hard to shake. Your mileage may vary.

Highs: Technical ability to spare on tracks like "A Curse" and "Abdication Of Power."

Lows: The album's over-reliance on metalcore cliches makes it feel dated.

Bottom line: Metalcore fans will enjoy this one, others may find it a little dated.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)