Bury Tomorrow – ‘Cannibal’

By Dave Stewart

Bury Tomorrow are one of those bands that never stop climbing. Just when you think they’ve unleashed the best record of their career, they set their sights even higher and work even harder to push themselves as musicians – and to blow you away as fans. Their evolution from 2009 debut ‘Portraits’ to the phenomenal 2018 record ‘Black Flame’ is stunning, the attention to detail becoming audibly more precise and polished as the years flew by. Now over a decade into their career, they’re presenting their sixth record ‘Cannibal’. The title might lead you to believe that it’s an album about cracking out the silverware to chow down on a bit of human flesh. I doubt this is a surprise, but it’s not. It’s personal.

Front man Dani Winter-Bates has been, pretty much for the entirety of the bands career, a very loud advocate for the importance of mental health. Just like the rest of us, he has endured some devastating low moments and his mind has suffered as a result. This record is a first for Bury Tomorrow, because it has some of those moments violently pulsing away at its core, giving fans a very real and sincere look inside Dani’s mind.

“The term ‘cannibal’ refers to being eaten away by your own thoughts but also eaten away by other humans,” Dani explains. “We’re not kind to ourselves, let alone kind to each other.” The words that he speaks on this album are more honest and raw than anything that Bury Tomorrow have released before, making the end product their most wonderfully voracious to date.

The general vibe of this record is exactly what you’d expect – gargantuan songs with anthemic tendencies that are built with a mix of intense verses, addictive choruses, and pulverising breakdowns. However, there’s something that surges through this record that makes it feel different, a current pumping static into your veins that allows every note to conduct through your body.

’Choke’ is a perfect example of this, its infectious pace immediately hypnotising you into action as pit-hungry verses, striking choruses, and a breakdown heavier than Thor’s hammer all come together to sweep you off your feet. The first thing that will take you aback is the vocals – Dani belts out his most wrathful vocals to date, and manages to maintain the same ferocity through the entire record. This is just the first track, and you’d better believe that it doesn’t let up at any point.

‘The Grey (VIXI)’ is an atmosphere-shifting powerhouse, with guitarist and vocalist Jason Cameron’s silky vocals acting as your guide as it ebbs and flows in and out of chaos. ‘The Agonist’ is a mosher’s dream, with every riff from Cameron and every ounce of the stellar lead work from fellow guitarist Kristan Dawson fuelling the fire until it becomes a raging inferno. ‘Imposter’ is, ironically, a classic slice of what you already love about the band, crammed full of meaty metalcore riffs and one of the catchiest choruses on the record. Even title track ‘Cannibal’ boasts a familiar feel, the bouncy tempo and elating melodies immediately taking your mind to a place you already know and love as these songs stealthily ingrain themselves in your brain.

This record is full of sounds and characteristics that are recognisable, but the album is at its finest when it isn’t. The chameleon-like nature of ‘Quake’ heightens the emotional turmoil contained within the lyrics, able to be delicate and reserved one moment in bass-driven verses courtesy of Davyd Winter-Bates, then soaring and tempestuous the next, to make it both a ballad and an undeniable belter. ‘Better Below’ is an uplifting mammoth, kicked off by the simple but solid drum work of Adam Jackson before launching into a rollercoaster of an aural assault with moving lows and dramatic, gripping highs. ‘Cold Sleep’ is a fast paced thrasher, ‘Voice & Truth’ is a hearty and electrifying monolith, ‘Dark Infinite’ is a beautifully destructive hurricane that brings the record to a close in the most hair-raising and magnificent way – this album has everything you could want and more. 

Simply put, ‘Cannibal’ is their most captivating and powerful record to date. This isn’t just another Bury Tomorrow record – it stands for something. It’s a helping hand for anyone afraid to reach out, a beacon for anyone that needs guidance, a home for anyone that feels lost. You are not on your own, and no matter how bad things might seem, they can and will be better. In Dani’s own words, “the normalisation of mental health is what saves lives. I want people to see the light in the dark. If they delve into that they can find solace in the discussion, the normalisation, the positive action by discussing this.” This record is deeply rooted in the dark, but its intentions are to usher anyone that’s struggling to the light. When the music hits you this hard, it’s incredibly difficult not to walk towards it.

‘Cannibal’ is radiant, rousing and ravenous, setting Bury Tomorrow up for yet another clean vault over the bar that they’re endlessly raising. A truly stunning offering from one of British metalcore’s most valuable gems.

DAVE STEWART

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