I must begin by noting that until writing this review, I was unaware of the Australian metalcore band Buried In Verona. Once I started listening to their new album Vultures Above, Lions Below, now available on Rise Records, I was clicking ‘Like’ on their Facebook page before the first track was over. I grew up as a hard rock/punk metal kid and the one band I was constantly reminded of while listening to this album was Chimaria. Over the last eight years or so I have ventured into other musical genres such as improvisational jam rock and jazz funk. This exploration lead me to following less of the punk rock & metalcore scenes. Vultures Above, Lions Below brought me back and reignited my passion! There is no doubt in my mind this is the album’s intention and it will surely help bring in new fans.
With no prior knowledge of their catalog I didn’t know what to expect from this album or how it would differ from their four previous albums. I eventually came to realize that this album is slightly different from their first few albums. The most notable difference is Brett Anderson’s hardcore punk vocal style, which paired well with the clean melodic vocals of Richie Newman, as opposed to the growl screaming of incomprehensible lyrics Buried In Verona previously used. Also noted, were a number of songs with a more stripped back origin and catchy sing-alongs. Their earlier albums were a bit more brutal and their 2014 album Faceless is a little darker with heavier deathcore beats.
Now it’s 2015 and here is their latest musical venture, Vultures Above, Lions Below. The first of 12 tracks and half of the title, “Vultures Above” starts the album off with an eerie descending tone of water drop notes; the calm before the storm. Complementing cymbal taps then enter, followed by the powerful vocals, double bass romps, and fast rhythmic guitar distortion that gets your head banging. “Would you take away all of the graves / That litter my mind to this day / Would you clear the path through the trees / Or are you just gonna walk away / Don’t leave me here this way.”
The following track “Extraction” starts off with a mellow synthesizer sound that is broken through by the opening vocal line “I can’t breathe / I’ve got this noose around my neck.” This song seems to be about separating yourself from a bad situation or unhealthy relationship and it has that faster punk rock beat that elevates the implied need to escape. The mellow breakdown has a nice drum build-up which include the lyrics “Extract me, get me out / The anchors and chains only scaring me now.”
The third song “Dig Me Out” starts with pumping energy and a groove metal riff that makes you just want to jump the fuck up and speak about feelings of change while encouraging yourself not to get buried by them.
“Hurricane” follows with a more mellow sound and relates to picking yourself back up through unity and perseverance through love. Lyrics include, “Hurricane take us away / Spit us out and start again … Did you push till it cracked did you fight back / Did you love just enough to get love back … Let’s all keep marching on / Push aside all the broken times / Break away and leave the past behind.”
Track 5: “Separation” brings back the high energy with a fist pumping beat and intro lyrics, “You fucking make me sick!” One line I liked that stood out in this track was, “You seek attention of a world gone wrong / No place you can hide now, blink your eyes, you’re gone.”
Track 6: “Can’t Be Unsaid” was released as a single and it’s another slower paced anthem-type sing-along chorus which includes the lyrics, “I’m letting go of who I am / I’m running towards the ocean / Drown the thoughts that weigh me down.” Check out the official music video below which captures the spirit of letting go of the lies that tear you down.
Track 7: “Reflection” infuses a violin synth sound and pounding double bass intro into a thrashing hardcore punk beat and the song speaks about looking in the mirror while facing the responsibility of the person that hides beneath the skin.
Much like several of the prior tracks, Track 8: “Done For Good” is another song about breaking the cycle and leaving past life behind you. It has a lighter hardcore feel and features a cool piano synth background throughout the song.
Track 9: “Pathways” roars straight out of the gates and deals with the struggle of alcoholism, “When the bottle hits my lips / I can’t stop till I’m a mess / I thought this was my release / From the sorrow and the grief / What’s inside of me.”
But appropriately enough, the following track “Unbroken” rebounds the get-back-up attitude with the lyric “This is war!” Listen to the song below.
Track 11 “Bring Me Home” is an instant head banger. This song is about being at the edge and finding that one person who can catch you; with passionate lyrics like, You are the rope, you are the anchor holding me back from the edge / You are the strength and the love to bring me home again.”
The closing track (and the second half of the title) is “Lions Below” which closes the album nicely as it sandwiches the tracks with a real heavy groove and increasing vitality. This song is the end all fuck-it song on the album,
Watch me walk away … I see straight through your eyes / I see straight through the lies / And I cut these ties tonight … Now I’m alive.”
Overall, having never heard of this band before, I loved the album and I am the newest Buried In Verona fan. There is an underlying concept through the album of stopping things that bring you down and keep you from being happy. Remove yourself from negative spaces and people. It’s a theme that I value and appreciate. The music captures the sound of these thoughts and feelings very well. The heavy drop tunes, head banging thrashers, and loud singalongs make me hope these guys have big things ahead; hopefully a US tour coming up that makes includes Florida. For now, here’s their Australian tour dates for 2015.
Album Review: “Vultures Above, Lions Below” by Buried In Verona by Richie Williams, edited by Martin Cardenas.
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