Leaving a three year gap between your debut and sophomore efforts can often be risky. Perhaps people lose interest, perhaps you can’t live up to the hype surrounding the build up, but perhaps you’ll prove it was wholly worth the wait. 2009’s ‘Portraits’ was a solid starting point for the UK’s own Bury Tomorrow, but people are expecting big things from its successor and it seems that ‘The Union of Crowns’ is up to the job.
Battling an oversaturation of their genre, the band – added to the challenge of proving the wait wasn’t futile – had to set themselves apart. Key nuances are easy to master, as proven by many bands at present, but finding that added something proves a tad more difficult. Thankfully, Bury Tomorrow have set themselves apart with one key word: contrast.
It’s easy to pull a release out of ‘Metalcore: 1.01’, yet the band have managed to team their more brutal elements with smoother counterparts, be it tight melodics or soaring vocals. Opener ‘Redeemer’ is a prime example, layering a light guitar over a heavy undertone initially, before meshing clean vocals and a simpler verse with an anarchic alternative. Flitting between something as simple as growls and cleaner elements so seamlessly proves exciting to listen to; though completely differing elements, there’s such a neat transition.
This compliment is applicable across the board, with ‘Knight Life’ being another great example. Light harmonics work alongside violent roars, the verse is packed with big riffs and roars as the chorus is cleaner and catchier. One of the most notable contrasts that sell this record are back to back tracks ‘1603’ and ‘Sceptres’. The former lures you in with a piano introduction, concluding in the same fashion; the midst is anthemic, yet doesn’t lose the impact of their sound. The latter is the polar opposite, with massive breakdowns and a much heavier feel. The smooth transition achieved between these two is baffling, yet impressive. There is no finer example of their diversity than this duo.
‘The Union of Crowns’ is both exciting and enjoyable, yet it’s not particularly groundbreaking. They’ve honed the style of their debut and pushed it a bit further on this; if anything, it feels like a perfectly natural progression. This release panders to lovers of straight up metalcore, as well as those seeking something a little cleaner. They’ve proven you don’t need to tread untouched territory in music to create something wonderful, and there’s definitely an art to honing particular sounds.