Saturday, September 8, 2012

FMA Reviews: Mass Burial: Of Carrion and Pestilence

It is entirely possible that Mass Burial has heard of the Swedish death metal scene. And that would be a huge understatement. Mass Burial is dripping with the buzzsaw Swedish death metal riffing sound. The band does one hell of a job at re-capturing the glory that was the early days of Entomed, Dismember, and more. Which is okay, because I am a huge fan of that particular sound. Unfortunately there have been a lot of bands aping the style over the last few years and it is getting a little ridiculous. So a band that wants to play that style had better do something good with it in order to stand out.

Mass Burial actually does an admirable job. I would not say I prefer their work to the early landmark albums, far from it in fact, but the Spanish band does stand a little taller than some of the other groups out there these days that are pulling from the same well of influence. Where Mass Burial excels compared to other bands is that their sound is a hell of a lot nastier and filthier. They are not worried about cleaning up their production or their lyrical content. They are not scared to go some of the places that Vomitory for example inhabits.Their sound is bestial and raw, with murky production values and a truly sickening guitar and bass sound.

The praise above is not meant to suggest that this is a particularly great album. There are some issues that wear thin after awhile. In particular, I am not really a fan of the vocal style. It stays at a pretty even sound throughout which is a fairly gruff growl, but it lacks some of the bite that made the early Swedish death metal groups so fantastic. It does not come close to the insane, haunting styles of early Entombed or the monstrous roar of early Grave. The vocal style is okay at first but after a few songs, it gets a little old. The other issue is with the songs themselves. There really is no standout track here. Most of the songs follow a similar formula and those that do not, do not really stand out for the reasons they should.

This is only the band's debut album. They formed in 2002 but took until 2012 to release this album. The band still has some time to grow and improve on some things. This is a nice album for a debut, but it does not hold up to the classics that it is clearly influenced by.

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