Formed in 2013 in Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania, Burial In The Sky is a relatively young metal band, and a very promising one. After releasing a demo record in 2013, they released their first EP Transcendence in 2014, followed by their debut LP Persistence Of Thought in 2016.
After multiple line-up changes and a long recording process, the band’s new full length record Creatio et Hominus is finally ready to be unleashed.
The album features multi-instrumentalist James Tomedi on guitars, slide guitar, keys, mandolin and kalimba, Sam Stewart on piano and drums, Jorel Hart on vocals, and Zach Strouse on bass guitar and saxophone. The latter also played all the saxophone parts on the new Rivers of Nihil album, which might give you an idea of what kind of music to expect from Burial In The Sky on this album.
The band calls their style of music “Psychedelic Death Metal” and that’s actually a very fitting description, in my opinion. Creatio et Hominus (Latin for “Creation and Mankind”) is a mind bending, atmospheric take on progressive death metal that combines massive heavy grooves with technical guitar playing and psychedelic, atmospheric elements into a truly unique and interesting package of sophisticated and challenging music.
Burial In The Sky mastermind James Tomedi says about Creatio et Hominus:
We want people to feel certain things that sometimes can’t be as easily expressed with the extreme side of music. We focused a lot more on the psychedelic, progressive, and atmospheric sides to the band to help evoke those emotions. From the perspective of composition, we really wanted people to be able to just enjoy this record. We tried to make it a good balance of accessible yet sonically complex and intriguing.
Conceptually, it travels into the world of perception becoming the creation of all life. The thought process is the way we perceive things guides own personal reality. So in a sense, our world is our own. The way that you see it could be vastly different than me. With this record, we take the stories of great thinkers, mathematicians, inventors, activists, etc to try and paint an entire picture of life and all its small yet beautiful nuances through the way these people perceived it.
It’s a huge and sophisticated concept that Burial In The Sky are pursuing with this album, but in my judgement they definitely succeeded in doing so. The album is only 36 minutes long, but in that rather short playing time, you are taken on an exciting and engaging journey through all the different sides of the progressive death metal spectrum.
After the soothing, atmosphere driven intro track “Nexus” that is very focused on saxophone and piano, as well as ambient elements, the album gets very heavy, very quickly with “Tesla” and “Nautilus’ Cage,” two songs that are aggressive and fast-paced most of the time, but also occasionally take turns into more psychedelic musical realms.
The following songs really show the band’s talent for interesting, surprising songwriting and technical proficiency. Perfectly balancing out atmospheric, psychedelic segments, impressive melodies, and heavier, groovy parts, songs like “The Pivotal Flame,” “Psalms of the Deviant,” “5 Years,” and especially the phenomenal instrumental album closer “Creatio et Hominus” are exactly what progressive death metal should be like: Surprising and challenging, sometimes strangely positive and uplifting, but without ever completely abandoning the brutality and heaviness that death metal is originally all about.
The album as a whole is a very well-crafted concept piece that really feels like one single coherent artwork most of the time. The beautiful piano and saxophone melodies, the heavy riffs and pummeling drums, the atmospheric ambient elements, the psychedelic moments, and the harsh vocals – all of these elements are bound together by great songwriting that never tries to overwhelm the listener with hyper-technical or super unconventional ideas, but never undertaxes the listener with boring song structures, either. For fans of Rivers of Nihil, Monotheist or Fallujah, Creatio et Hominus is indispensable and everyone else who is interested in progressive, unique and exciting music should check it out, as well.
Creatio et Hominus will be self-released by the band on June 1st and can be preordered from the band’s Bandcamp page.