Burial in the Sky – Creatio et Hominus (Self-Released)Wednesday, 30th May 2018
With atmospheric death metal really coming into its own in the last few years in particular (thanks to bands such as Fallujah and Rivers of Nihil), the time seems right for Pennsylvania’s Burial in the Sky to strike. Having built some establishment through 2014’s Transcendence and 2016’s Persistence of Thought, they’ve made solid advances – something that Creatio et Hominus continues to showcase.
With a revised line-up with a slew of new members since last time (including vocalist Jorel Hart, bassist/sax player Zach Strouse, and drummer Sam Stewart), Creatio et Hominus could have went in a very different direction with little difficulty. Yet it still manages to sound like an improvement to the overall formula. In fact, the band’s split personality of providing ethereal and often psychedelic moods on the proggier side of things to enhance the more snarling tech-death seems more pervasive and exploratory. Strouse’s saxophone (who also did the same for Rivers of Nihil earlier this year) is well integrated in the mix and enriches the dreamy/floaty side of things in “Nautilus’ Cage” and “The Pivotal Flame” to intriguing results. But he’s not alone, with Stewart adding in piano, and guitarist James Tomedi incorporating slide guitar, kalimba, and mandolin to make some even more experimental indulgences that bring the band further into their own territory. Tracks like “5 Years” are certainly death metal, but have no problems in going into trippy, and sometimes uplifting moments that are as compelling and enticing as the more visceral death metal that the band keeps as a backbone.
Creatio et Hominus is a complex record that’s surreal and expansive in tone. Burial in the Sky jump into death metal’s new emotive playing field confidently, with a sound that draws you in and leaves you curious as to where they will move next. Their unique and trippy approach has grown with solid additions to the band, and should set the course for even more intriguing possibilities to come.