|Review: Buried Realm - Embodiment of the Divine|
|Embodiment of the Divine|
Year released: 2020
Genre: Melodic Death Metal
Review online: June 28, 2020
Reviewed by: Mjölnir
for:Embodiment of the Divine
Rated 4/5 (80%) (3 Votes)
I'll admit, whenever I get a promo from a band claiming to be Melodic Death Metal, I can't help but feel a bit of dread at the thought of giving it a spin. Outside of maybe Thrash in the late '80s, there really is no other Metal genre that got hit harder by a massive cultural glut, especially since so much of it ended up being diluted by shitty core and alt-rock influences by the time everyone was getting sick of it. I bring all this up to highlight that despite sporting a badass album cover, I wasn't particularly excited to give Buried Realm's second album (not counting the instrumental rerelease of their debut) a fair listen. At this point, you either have to do something really different with your sound or just play the everliving fuck out of it to stand out in a well-worn market. Thankfully, on Embodiment of the Divine, this band opts to do the latter.
I say band, but this is actually a solo project belonging to Circaic guitarist Josh Dummer, who handles all the songwriting and instrumental duties while bringing in several guest musicians from notable acts like Vital Remains and Firewind. I have to say that the guitar work on this is pretty excellent, with every song sporting fistfuls of detailed riffs and stellar melodic cues that give the songs a lot more shade and depth than most Melodeath bothers with, with the first two tracks "The Burning Remnants" and the excellent "Overlord" being the best examples of this. However, the album does tend to lose steam as it goes on, with the songs getting less exciting and the melodies less memorable, and it only really picks back up on the epic "Infinite Mutation". Part of this is the vocals, which are mostly a standard yap that's better than average, but still doesn't add a whole lot and can get grating in places. He also tosses in some guttural roars and clean vocals, the former of which he should probably stick to in the future, as his clean singing sounds like it wouldn't be too out of place on a Daughtry album. Unfortunately, the music tends to follow suit when they're brought out for a few bars, which severely hampers the quality of songs like "Master Psychosis" and album closer "The Wonder and Terror of Fortune", which sound like they're chasing trends from 2005 that need to stay dead.
Despite my concerns, this is a mostly fierce and intricate album in a genre that's not often known for being either of those things. I think Dummer could do with ditching the cleaner parts of his sound, but he's managed to make his vision stand out in a sea of In Flames and Soilwork wannabes, and for that he deserves a nod and a listen.
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