Tech Death Thursday: Burial in the Sky and Wastewalker
A couple of monster tech death albums dropped last week, and skipping them is not an option. Your weekly tech support comes from Burial in the Sky and Wastewalker.
- Abnormality have released a video for “Cymatic Hallucinations,” reminding me once again that I still need to get Mechanisms of Omniscience. Pick that up here if you missed out on it earlier.
- Alterbeast will be entering the studio on the 20th to record drums for their next album, with Alex Bent of Battlecross and Arkaik behind the kit. Look for that sometime next year, and jam Immortal again to remind yourself of why you should be excited.
- Asylum have released a new song from Psalms of Paralysis, their upcoming full-length. Check out “Spectral Incantation” ahead of the album’s February release.
Atmospheric tech death has really hit its stride the past couple years. Fallujah set a high bar with The Flesh Prevails, and other acts seem to have taken it as a challenge; Virvum just released an amazing album not too long ago, Kardashev’s Peripety was brilliant, and even acts like Rivers of Nihil and Job for a Cowboy have dipped their toes into the genre’s swirling waters. It’s no surprise that we’re seeing more of it, but the (mostly) consistent level of quality is impressive. Now, Burial in the Sky have thrown their hats in the ring with Persistence of Thought, and they may have set the bar that much higher.
One of the album’s biggest strengths is that there isn’t a clear line that can be drawn to any one factor that influenced it. Rather than referencing their peers to build their sound, they seem to have turned to outside sources. There are tinges of modern prog and post-black metal throughout, present in the non-standard chords, the odd timing on some of the leads, and the hazy tremolo-picked chords that dominate the upper reaches of the music. Melody is the driving force on Persistence; the riffs are distinct and powerful because of it, and they successfully avoid getting trapped in straightforward scales and arpeggios. The solos are fantastic to boot, feeling like short songs unto themselves within each track. The “song within a song” approach to guitar soloing has always been my favorite way to approach it- they become more personal and don’t feel quite so gratuitous that way- and Burial in the Sky are masters of this method.
Persistence of Thought is an excellent addition to the already great lineup of atmospheric tech death albums out there today. It’s smart, original, and easy to enjoy at a lean 35 minutes. None of that time is wasted, giving each segment room to breathe without overstaying its welcome. If you’re looking for something a little different, then this is for you.
Next up we’ve got Wastewalker bringing us back to earth. A bleak, dying earth. Funeral Winds paints a picture bereft of hope and swathed in despair, focusing on internal conflict and the injustices of the world. I’m always pleasantly surprised when tech death bands write lyrics that are inwardly reflective or observant of society and the problems surrounding it, and Wastewalker do both. It grounds the album, makes it more real and personal, a nice break from the norm.
Given that, it should be unsurprising that their sound is rooted more in melodeath and thrash than anything else. Funeral Winds has energy to spare, with bouncing mid-range harmonies and a hefty low end. Their propensity for riffs that travel the fretboard reminds me of this year’s Hemotoxin release in a lot of ways, but they take a less nasty approach to it. I wouldn’t necessarily call it happier, but undoubtedly brighter. Instrumental acrobatics are in full force here, with fast, complex riffs that morph into impressive solos. The bass lines are similarly impressive, working out their own counterpoints between the dual guitar rush.
Wastewalker may have some dark lyrics and tricky music, but above all, they are unabashedly fun. I’ve been looking forward to this release for some time now, and it did not disappoint. Jump on this one if you’re looking for something with equal levels of headbanging and virtuosity.
Burial in the Sky and Wastewalker are both on Facebook; if you like what you heard, stop by their pages and waft some Toilet scents their way. Both albums are out now and are available at the Bandcamp links above. That’s all for this week, and until next time,
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