A few months ago, I received a request from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania's Bury Thy Kingdom to review their first album entitled Ascension. After a few listens, I had come to the conclusion that this band was just another run-of-the-mill metalcore band with a few flashes of something impressive, but not enough to make me want to come back for repeated listens. Thus, the reasoning behind me not reviewing the album; I completely forgot about it! Fast-forward a few months, and one of their members is asking me to review their newly released EP, Edge Of The Sea. I was a little reluctant to listen to it at first, but let me tell you one thing, I'm glad that I buckled down and decided to indulge in it before too long. Simply put, Edge Of The Sea is an improvement on Ascension. To find out just how much Bury Thy Kingdom has progressed in the past year, keep reading!
The EP opens with a groovy breakdown and symphonic keys that put off a very eerie vibe. After the short intro track "Darkened Skies", Edge Of The Sea picks up the pace a little bit with "White Waves". I was initially caught off guard by the clean vocals near the start of "White Waves" because I was expecting to hear harsh vocals, but I was surprised in a good way. The cleans aren't necessarily angelic, but they fit this style of music very well. After the intro and first verse of the song, "White Waves" only gets more impressive. The chugging is almost always accompanied by excellent leads, usually in the background, and it just sounds exceptional.
The next track, "Khan Artist", made me realize how similar the vocals are to Vincent of The Acacia Strain and Aaron of As They Sleep. Both of the aforementioned vocalists are great and they're both in solid bands, too. To have a vocalist that "takes" the highs of Aaron and the mids/lows of Vincent and blends them together seamlessly is quite an impressive feat, and that's exactly what Zach of Bury Thy Kingdom has done on this release. In addition to sounding very good on their own, the vocals - from mid to low to high to clean - flow well and slot in nicely with the rest of the music.
The entire EP is very strong, but there were two tracks that raised the hairs on my arms and neck for the majority of their playtime. "Eye Of The Storm" and "Edge Of The Sea" are the most progressive songs on the EP, which is probably why they caught my attention the most. "Eye Of The Storm" is an instrumental track with a cool intro/outro that goes hand in hand, spine-chilling leads, groovy riffage, and solid drumming that spans just over two minutes. My personal favourite, though, is definitely the title track. Right from the first few notes of "Edge Of The Sea", it's clear that Bury Thy Kingdom put a lot of thought into writing this particular song. Similar to "Eye Of The Storm", the riffs on "Edge Of The Sea" are very groovy and the guitar leads are awe-inspiring, and they coincide with each other unbelievably well.
After listening to the 24-minute Edge Of The Sea EP several times, I only came across two minor flaws. The first thing that I noticed is that the cleans vocals heard on "Leviathan" sound weak in comparison to the ones that we were introduced to earlier on in the EP. The other thing that I wasn't too fond of was the 35-second soundclip of waves washing up on a shore at the end of "Mask The Wonders". I know that it was probably used to flow into the final track, "Edge Of The Sea", but it seems like a very cheesy segue.
Even after considering these (extremely minor) flaws, Bury Thy Kingdom's Edge Of The Sea is an incredible release that is definitely several notches above Ascension. The vocals are immaculate, the riffing and leads are very well thought out, and the drumming is well above average. Furthermore, the addition of keys, other symphonic elements, and effects on several songs is another huge plus. For the most part, the bass is overshadowed by the other instruments (and vocals), but there are a few instances where it's very clear and it sounds great. If Bury Thy Kingdom continues to pursue this style and push the boundaries of metalcore on future releases like they've done on Edge Of The Sea, they will most certainly be a force to be reckoned with.