As opening salvo Satisfy starts chugging from the speakers, a vocal onslaught leaves you in no doubt as to exactly what Buried in Smoke’s mission is, they pretty much lay it out before you even place one foot in their musical world. The removal of what they see as inferior music from the airwaves and media channels to be replaced with various forms of rock, punk and metal! A bit extreme perhaps but catch me on certain nights and throw in a bit of old-school post-punk and I would say that they might just have a point. And with the task at hand clearly identified they waste no time at all in laying out a stall of classic rock and metal riffs, and dark and intense alt-rock grooves.
Although I grew up on what was then termed as “metal” bands, the classics, bands that could be referenced by only using half of their name, Maiden, Purple, Priest, then the genre moved on to more extreme potential and left me behind. Buried In Smoke, however, seem to reference those heady and more melodic days in their music and because of that I find a lot here I like.
And even within the confines of the heavy genres they have chosen to work in, there is a fair bit of variation. War Dogs bristles with vicious energy and visceral drives, Southern Pain is a Dixie-metal boogie and Home is a dark acoustic touch song which ends up in big theatrical crescendos. Closing song, Want You Mine, is a half-rapped, blues bombardment that The Wildhearts would be proud of. It is a taste of the past, repackaged and represented for the more robust and broader tastes of the modern rock fan and even though it works with familiar building blocks, razor wire riffs and white noise guitars, thunderous back beats, bruising bass pulses and raw and reckless vocal workouts, it is still more concerned with moving the sound forward than revelling in past glories.
Rather than the extreme technical style over substance that prevails in the genre today, this is a band that understands the middle ground, riffs are big but accessible, the beat moves with the song rather than dominates in a showcase of double kick mayhem, the songs groove and swing whilst coming at you like a thing possessed and the lyrics are aggressive and growled, yet clearly identifiable rather than the guttural screamo noisefest that has become fashionable.
In short it moves the modern metal format on by referencing what was so good about the past, a past where bands like Pantera led the game, and the end result is an album that will appeal to old school hard rockers and modern day metallers alike.
Fans of rock and metal in all its forms will find a lot to like, the gothic set will appreciate its dark soundscapes and the more industrial minded will find its raw beauty and dystopian vibes to their tastes. But if like me you have been away from the upper echelons of hard rock and metal trenches for a while and are looking for a way back in, this is the perfect place to start. Okay chaps, over the top we go….