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Sydney’s Buried In Verona are one of the more divisive bands in the Australian heavy music scene, attracting legions of lovers and haters known to express themselves with equal passion.
Fittingly their fourth full-length Vultures Above, Lions Below, looks set to be their most polarising release yet, it’s also their best. Written amidst the much publicized financial and emotional fallout that followed 2014’s Faceless, Vultures Above, Lions Below is a passionate and progressive rallying cry from the Sydney quintet, that sees founding member Brett Anderson (vocals) and long-time compadre Richie Newman (guitar/vocals) team with new guys Mark Harris (guitar), Brandon Martel (bass) and James Swanson (drums) to create the album that they always wanted to make.
Musically adventurous (as metalcore goes) Vultures Above, Lions Below sees BIV incorporate a variety of new elements into their sound, injecting undertones of nu-metal, metal, industrial, post-hardcore and stadium-rock into their sound while placing a new found focus on melody.
Synth-heavy opener Vultures Above establishes a haunting atmosphere, blending raw throated post-hardcore vocals with a thunderous rhythm as the band declares intentions to fight against the dying of the light. Extraction treads similar sonic territory, bathing an anthemic chorus that calls to mind The Amity Affliction, in all manner of bells and whistles, resulting in an early highlight.
Dig Me Out and Separation wear a heavy nu-metal influence, with rhythmic vocal patterns and downtuned riffs locking seamlessly with Swanson’s groove. Cringe-worthy connotations the nu-metal tag conjures aside, it actually works surprisingly well. Anderson and Newman smash it vocally throughout with the hooks on Hurricane (which channels latter period AFI), and lead-single Can’t Be Unsaid is a notch above anything BIV have offered before with Anderson’s snarl as vicious as ever. Massive kudos have to go to Harris, whose lead work is exemplary and adds a layer of musicality.
Despite progress, there’s moments where BIV fall back on chug-heavy genre conventions (Bring Me Home, Done For Good, Unbroken), when a genre is as tired as metalcore, it can be tedious, however overall there’s enough variety on offer to warrant repeat listens.
Some will argue the new approach is eerily similar to the musical direction of both Northlane and Bring Me The Horizon, and while there’s similarities, it seems more coincidence than plagiarism. Highlighted by the unflinchingly honest and confessional Pathways, as good of a song as they’ve penned, Vultures Above, Lions Below is the sound of Buried in Verona overcoming being deceived by those they trusted most, emerging stronger and more determined than ever. Bring on the haters.
Watch: Buried In Verona – Can’t Be Unsaid