Thursday, September 21, 2017

Buried Realm - The Ichor Carcinoma

Record Label: Self-release

Heavy metal has long been full of widdly widdly guitar parts where a musician shows off their proficiency at playing the guitar. Buried Realm is essentially a one man project featuring Josh Dummer, who displays his talents playing nearly all the instruments on "The Ichor Carcinoma". The album features guests like Arch Enemy's, Christopher Amott, Brandon Ellis (from Cannabis Corpse and Black Dahlia Murder and Peter Wichers (from Soilwork) plus many more (the guest appearances do make for interesting reading).

The album lulls the listener in with the melodic "Portal", which is a short instrumental track. The albums title track is a punishing beast in more than one way. The guitar wizardry sounds amazing and it's clear that Dummer didn't get his chops down by merely playing Guitar Hero. The vocals to this song begin as death metal grunts and then turn into Danii Filth style shreiks, which are incongruous with the power/progressive Symphony X style of guitar playing. The guitar sound is great but those vocals are like nails on a chalkboard when they're married to a fantastic guitar sound. "Asphyxiation's Lullaby" is much the same story but features some actual singing which matches the music but those grunts and shrieks are also used. The mix of vocal styles completely messes up a track which had so much potential.

"Through Darkened Halls" starts with an electronic opening and also contains that mixture of shrieks and grunts over the banging guitar playing. There's a classical vibe to the guitar in this track, which is also mixed with occasional blastbeats and great soloing coming in and out. Imagine if a "Lord of the Rings" movie was playing with continual loops of Steve Vai's part in "Crossroads" also playing either on the same screen or very nearby and this is the aural equivalent. The vocals sound like a troll and orc chatting.

"Aperion 1 - The Legacy" actually marries the guitar sounds and both clean and shreiked vocals well as the guitar heroics aren't the forefront of the song. They do appear at the end and this gives the song a laid back vibe rather than in your face. "On Serpent Style" is another instrumental track, which features a guitar style that sounds like Satriani on steroids. This track is great. "Aperion II - Global Dreamer" mixes up the shrieked vocals with a melodic chorus, those Symphony X style guitars and some tight mid-tempo drumming. The drumming on the follw-up track, "Unscrupulous" after a slow intro starts out damned fast then slows down and speeds again and so do the guitars. Instrumentally this track is fantastic but again the vocals bring it down a level and it's not because shrieks and grunts are awful rather because they just sound unnecessary on this track.

The bottom line is "The Ichor Carcinoma" should have either featured mainly clean vocals or been wholly instrumental as the vocals are mostly annoying and detract from the technical musicianship. This album would have had a much higher score if it weren't for the incongruity of the death metal vocals with incredibly well played instruments. The non-instrumental tracks don't have much post-review replay value.

Release Date: 29 September 2017


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