Tech Death Thursday: Buried Realm – Embodiment of the Divine

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It’s about time we got back to this, huh? New tech tunes today courtesy of Buried Realm.

News:

  • Lord of the Rings has long been inspiration for black metal nerds, and now it’s finally breaching into tech death territory. Check out this new single from Mouth of Sauron, and look for Berserker on September 12th.
  • In tech-adjacent news, you can check out a new tune from Gargoyl, a weird fuckin’ prog band featuring Dave Davidson of Revocation and Luke Roberts from Ayahuasca. I’m very much looking forward to this one, which lands on October 9th.

Buried Realm is one of those bands that I went back and forth on whether or not to put in a tech death column versus a normal review. Their particular style of melodic death metal flirts with technical riffing while putting the real emphasis on the leads, but if bands like Perihelion Ship and Crown Magnetar can get covered here, so can they. Embodiment of the Divine is the solo act’s second full-length album, following in the footsteps of 2017’s shredfest The Ichor Carcinoma while taking a few key deviations from that path.

While The Ichor Carcinoma was a fun album, it was an uneven listen. About half the album was straightforward, mid-tempo melodeath built around big choruses, and the other half was more akin to Psycroptic-style tech death shred. It felt like it was caught between two worlds, unsure of exactly what it wanted to be; while I like having variety among songs on an album, this felt more like it was splitting its focus on two disparate things that didn’t quite mesh. I do still recommend giving it a listen if you’re into guitar worship, but I could see some people being turned off by one half or the other.

That focus on lead guitar work hasn’t changed on Embodiment of the Divine, but everything around those stellar leads has been evened out. It’s very clearly still the same guy behind everything- musically, it’s still largely that same type of Bloodshot Dawn-style triumphant melodies- but the focus that was lacking from its predecessor is there now. While the more aggressive technical riffs of the last album have largely disappeared, the overall flow of the album feels much more consistent, and it’s catchier and more fun because of it. The soaring choruses are definitely stronger here, the clean vocals giving it just a hint of Soilwork or Mutiny Within flavor.

I would be remiss not to talk directly about the solos, of course; I’ve said they’re good, but it’s worth emphasizing that each of them is a total showstopper, and not just in their raw speed or virtuosity. Each of the artists contributing to the album, the likes of which include Bob Katsionis (Firewind), Benjamin Ellis (Bloodshot Dawn), and Rafael Trujillo (Obsidious/ex-Obscura) among others, bring their own distinct styles and personalities to each tune, each of them slotting in naturally to the songs they guest on. The performances across the board are impeccable, and Dan Swanö’s mix and master brings out their full potential.

The only real criticism I have to offer here is that some of the riffing feels a little vanilla. I know I was just complaining about Ichor’s lack of focus, but I personally would have liked to see the project go full tech death rather than cutting back on that type of song. Those were my personal favorite parts of previous record, and I’d love to see more of that on future efforts. But hey, you can’t please everyone all the time, and this all isn’t to say Embodiment is a bad album at all. I still had a lot of fun with it, and I recommend anyone into crazy guitar work gives it a shot.

Embodiment of the Divine is out now, available on Bandcamp and Buried Realm’s website if you’re looking for a physical copy. Be sure to give the project a like on Facebook if you dig what you heard, too. That’s all for now, so until next time,

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