Without a doubt, UK death dealers Live Burial play the death metal style that spawned millions of metalheads in the early ’90s. Drawing on many influences, this quintet straddle the tonal fence between rapid, grindcore-esque death and the doomier camp from earlier eras. Hailing from Newcastle upon Tyne, their love of early British metal like Bolt Thrower and Cancer is obvious, but as the album progresses, astute fans will hear an equal mix of iconic death groups from both Eastern and Western hemispheres.
From the first strains of album opener “Seeping Into the Earth,” one may posit Benediction as a favourite of guitarists Rob Hindmarsh and Richard Codling, but it’s not until halfway through “Swing of the Pendulum,” when Cursed-era Morgoth is invoked, that the band’s harmonious love for death metal is glaringly apparent. “The Crypt of Slumbering Madness” retains an Asphyx-like gravity, while “Rotting on the Rope” boasts Unleashed undertones.
Shifting the dismal mood, “Winds of Solace” starts with Lee Anderson’s obese bass tones, over which acoustic guitarist Dan Rochester (Vacivus, Cruciamentum) spins a fragile web of Spanish classical guitar chords — an unexpected bonus here. With a Cathedral-like intro of doomy riffs, “Cemetery Fog” explodes in a dense, Autopsy-like haze, with Jamie Brown shredding his vocal cords in his grimmest growls, somewhere between Death’s Chuck Schuldiner and Obituary’s John Tardy.
Their primitive 2016 debut Forced Back to Life hinted only at the brutality of the band’s sound, but Unending Futility confirms the group’s evolution and their embracing of a more defined death/doom outlook. Never a strict throwback, Live Burial proudly wear their inspirations on their denim battle vests, advancing their old-school death agenda to rabid fans. (Transcending Obscurity)