Burial Year - Pestilence (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Burial Year

Pestilence (2006)


When I think of music that pulverizes, music that exemplifies heavy, music that would give your grandmother a stroke just by walking by and hearing it, I don't think about San Fransisco.

Pestilence might change all that.

Burial Year's latest offering is about as far away from rainbows and "Will & Grace" re-runs as one band could possibly hope for. Last year it was Buried Inside that dropped an album that was crushing, dynamic, and extremely well written all at the same time. Now it's Burial Year's turn, and the half an hour of music that makes up this record is an unrelenting onslaught of low-end vocals, lightning quick chord progressions and tempo changes, and a thick wall of fuzz and distortion that only an ear well trained for it will be able to pull enjoyment through.

It's refreshing to hear a band that is able to pull off a sound this heavy, and not have it stagnate within ten minutes. That's always a danger for bands of this ilk, but Burial Year sidestep that pothole with ease, allowing them plenty of time to concentrate on well crafted songs. And from beginning to the bitter, bitter end, each of the 10 songs has its own identity and reason to listen.

Take "White Wash," a song beginning with a deep, sludgy, Neurosis-like groove, but in the time it takes to snap your fingers, the band forges ahead full force, guitars franticly paced, thick bass, and drumming that just brings the house down. And amidst the chaos of it all, the vocals of Josh Kuntz never so much as waver. Driving and passionate, the low end, raspy screams sear through the rest of the music, lunging for your throat, promising to not let go. Throughout the course of this two-minute song, the tempo and groove manages to change a few more times, all the while keeping a uniform sound not letting things scatter. "Thirteen Knots" is an all-out blitzkrieg, that from the beginning, the ominous sounding feedback leads into yet another maelstrom of dissonance and cathartic screams. This time, there is no slowing, there is no relenting, it's 3 straight minutes of knock-down drag-out punishment. The guitars are at their most fluid and dynamic, the vocals are rhythmically delivered, and there's just the slightest undercurrent of melody to shake things up just that much more.

There's heavy music, and there's heavy music, and Burial Year, well, they epitomize the latter. And not only do they epitomize that, but they're able to present it in a very dynamic and very streamlined fashion with raw power that can't be stopped.