A crown we crave more of
With a name like Buried Above Ground, there’s a certain expectation that comes along with the macabre nature of the moniker. A barreling heaviness, pummeling drum beats and soul-crushing riffs are pretty par for the course in this type of sonic scenario. The Minneapolis deathcore group pretty much live up to the name even at just two albums into their career. The six tracks that make up their latest album The Crown are as hefty as the next, rife with looming atmospheres and brutal musicianship. That’s all good and fine, but for as enjoyable as The Crown is, that’s pretty much all that it is.
Albums are supposed to be enjoyable, yes, but Buried Above Ground was good with creating a sense of unrequited and unsolved urgency on The Crown. Opening up with the title track, creepily ambient noise leads into a menacing vocal delivery of some dark seeming lyrics lay the groundwork for the five songs that follow it, but even with this one, there’s the feeling that it doesn’t reach its peak. As it flows into “Doomed to Drown,” the same type of enveloping noise is the calm before the considerable storm, leaving time for the realization to hit that the opener was only a drizzle when you were expecting full raindrops.
But there is still much to enjoy, as songs like “You Bleed So Beautiful” and “Sin Eater” command attention in different ways. The former is slowly brewed and bubbling, with vocalist Eric McMahon and guitarist DJ Gunnarson really able to display the weight of their contributions, and the latter being one of heaviest offerings on the record. “Sin Eater” packs enough energy to match the entirety of the rest of the album, chugging guitars and occasional blast beats accented by a tender keyboard line and perfected high-hat hits. The breakdown, while brief, brings about the incredible urge to open up the pit and throw the strongest of punches. It’s the shortest song on the album, but definitely the one that should have been the longest.
None of this is to say that The Crown is a bad record, because it isn’t. If anything, it’s complimentary to wish that there was each of more song, that the levels Buried Above Ground pushed to could’ve been pushed further – harder, even. The Crown was like a platter of delicious samples, but what we really need is full servings.