The Consumed Self contains 58 minutes of modern technical/progressive death metal. The promo blurb says that it’s recommended for fans of Rivers of Nihil, Fallujah, Black Crown Initiate, Virvum, and Alustrium, which should let you know the sort of waters that Burial in the Sky wade in.
Burial in the Sky feature an ex-singer of Cognitive, who lends his formidable pipes to the music. I really like his voice, and his deep growls have personality and presence.
Let’s set the stage by stating that The Consumed Self is an ambitious and textured release. Theirs is an atmospheric take on the style, with expansive progressive metal compositions forming the base layer of the music, on to which is built modern death metal fury and wide-ranging atypical musical enhancements from a variety of different influences. This is then delivered with technical metal skill and a bold vision for what they want their extreme metal should sound like.
Of the musical enhancements I mentioned; synths appear, as does a mandolin, an accordion, and a saxophone, (the latter played by the person who provides saxophone for Rivers of Nihil). There’s also an enviable amount of guests on the album, most of whom add even more non-metal instruments to the mix, too many to reasonably list. Guest singers also appear, and two of the band members contribute extra vocals too, meaning that the vocal performances are diverse and rich, running the gamut from growls to cleans.
The songs are well-crafted and show a surprising amount of classic metal/death metal influences, despite the band clearly offering a very contemporary interpretation of these. For example; although Burial in the Sky occasionally make use of The Faceless-esque xeno-melodies, or Fallujah-style ethereal ones, most of the, (very accomplished), melodic work on The Consumed Self draws from older influences that have been updated, or from other sources such as Between the Buried and Me. In this way, and others, The Consumed Self avoids many of the potential pitfalls that quite a few modern progressive death metal bands unfortunately fall foul of, resulting in a very enjoyable and well-rounded album.
The Consumed Self has a lot going on, even for its near-60-minute length. It easily holds the listener’s attention throughout, and feels like a much shorter record in some regards. The band have clearly put their best, hardest work into this album, and the results speak for themselves. Intricate, bold, atmospheric, adventurous, emotive, and brutally effective, Burial in the Sky have seriously impressed.
If you’re in the market for some modern progressive death metal that has a potent classic streak running through it, then The Consumed Self should speak to you very loudly and clearly. As such, this should be an essential listen for anyone this applies to.