Jan 062022


The first installment of this list orbited the cratered moon of black metal, and in this one I decided to chart a course through the death metal asteroid belt, sustaining destructive collisions along the way. These three songs differ significantly in their stylistic inclinations, which is just one small sign of how diverse death metal is, but of course what they share is a significant degree of… infectiousness. All three bands also happen to be from the U.S.


This Philadelphia band’s 2021 album The Consumed Self made at least three of the year-end lists prepared by NCS writers. One of those (Andy Synn) also gave the album a thorough and nuanced review (here), another (DGR) also included a review when he put the album at the No. 15 spot of his YE list; and a third (Gonzo) anointed it as his album of the year, writing (here): “In a year with so many incredible technical death metal records, Burial in the Sky have created something that shakes itself loose from the rest of the pack. Their brilliant musicianship and airtight songwriting is a sonic killing machine that just puts them squarely into elite territory.” Continue reading »

Aug 062021

(Andy Synn goes on a journey with the new album from Burial In The Sky – set for release on August 13 via Rising Nemesis Records – and finds that the band’s path leads to some unexpected places)

I don’t think anyone would deny that, for the last several years (and that’s just a very conservative estimate) the Techy/Proggy end of the Death Metal spectrum has been in rude and ruddy health.

But still… there’s a certain glaring absence, a spiralling void if you will, in the scene that’s been crying out to be filled ever since the most recent album by The Faceless revealed them to be a mere ghost (pun intended) of the band they once were.

Many have tried to step up, of course – often, unfortunately, by simply parroting, or parodying, the exact same sound which made Keene and co. famous – but so far only a few have even come close to being worthy.

However, while previous records from Burial In The Sky may have marked them out as being worthier than most to pick up that particular torch, what really surprised me about The Consumed Self (which is easily the best work of the band’s career) is that, if anything, it suggests that BitS plan on stepping into a very different pair of shoes.

Whose shoes exactly? Well you’ll have to wait just a little while longer to find out, because this review – much like the album which inspired it – is made up of two distinct halves.

Continue reading »

Jun 282021


After two increasingly impressive and adventurous albums — 2016’s Persistence of Thought and 2018’s Creatio et Hominus — Philadelphia’s Burial in the Sky are returning with a third full-length named The Consumed Self, which will be released on August 13th by Rising Nemesis Records. If anything, it’s an even more adventurous amalgam of technical and progressive death metal than the records which preceded it, and even more elaborate and multi-faceted in both its compositional approach and its textures of tone and mood.

This is a band bursting with ideas, and they’re not timid about showing that. All the members also happen to be highly skilled performers, and that’s what makes possible the realization of their most high-flying ideas — and the somehow seamless juxtaposition of dramatically changing emotions and styles, bewildering or bone-smashing in one moment and then visionary or entrancing the next. Continue reading »

Jun 042018


(Andy Synn wrote this article, which includes thoughts about the new albums by Lago from Arizona and Burial In the Sky from Pennsylvania.)

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, but the concept of pure “originality”, in its most stringent and (ironically) restrictive form, is often given far too much weight and consideration when bands are being critiqued/assessed.

Now this in no way excuses bands whose music never rises above being a dilute derivative of something we’ve heard a thousand times before, but the truth is that the majority of musical growth and evolution occurs in the form of slow, incremental changes, with successive artists tweaking, altering, and adding to the formula(s) of their predecessors over time.

In that sense it’s a lot like science, where new developments are generally the results of years of perseverance, building on the legacy of the work done previously, so that the chain of events, the path of discovery, is clear for all to see.

Of course in music, as in science, there will always be sudden, paradigm-altering breakthroughs when inspiration suddenly strikes, and something truly “original” is created, but, for the most part, we need to acknowledge that all of us, from the least to the greatest, are standing on the shoulders of giants. Continue reading »

Sep 282016



(Austin Weber brings us this premiere of a new song by the Pennsylvania band Burial In the Sky.)

In the least few years, the technical death metal scene has undergone some very interesting mutations that have helped push the genre forward. Within this field of growth there seem to be two camps, one moving toward more atonal, skronky tech-death inspired by groups like Gorguts, Ulcerate, and Deathspell Omega, and another propagating a more atmospheric and proggy sound inspired by groups like Fallujah and Rivers Of Nihil. While I’m a fan of both takes on the sound, the group I’m covering today falls into the latter category.

While I can honestly say that Burial In The Sky are doing their own thing, influences from both Rivers Of Nihil and Fallujah can be heard at times, though the music is less imitative per se than in the way it’s been done recently by a few other groups. Having heard all of their new album early, I can also state with certainty that their form of atmospheric tech-death often encompasses a near-ambient psychedelic feeling that is uniquely their own. Continue reading »