The Union of Crowns
13 July 2012
by Jon Kerr
Just as the metalcore has really started to show itself up as becoming passé, Bury Tomorrow have come along with The Union of Crowns – a record which takes the unification of England and Scotland as its concept. It’s a bold idea from these new flag bearers of British proponents of the genre, but musically is there anything truly innovative in between all the genre’s usual cliches and hallmarks?
The album leaps from one ear-thumper to another: from pounding first single ‘Lionheart’; screaming ‘Message to a King’; to the mosh-inspiring ‘An Honourable Reign’. The latter track is one of the record’s most furious, but ironically concludes with the line “we haven’t changed, we stay the same”. It’d perhaps be truer to say that Bury Tomorrow have changed – or at least grown – since 2009’s Portraits; the Hampshire five-piece have been working hard on honing their skills. Best of all, they show no signs of softening.
However, as the record progresses a foreseeable reality becomes apparent – we’re heard it all before. British metalcore is around a decade old and as mighty as most of the tracks on this album indeed are they do little to give the subgenre momentum. The Union of Crowns is an album that gives a lot of pleasure but provides little innovation. Given how good Bury Tomorrow prove they can be on The Union of Crowns, it’s quite frustrating given how tempting it can be to write off the whole thing as derivative. The opening riff of ‘Royal Blood’ judders the eardrums like classic Lamb of God once did; ‘Bitemark’ and ‘Sceptres’ crunch forward like two lurching mammoths, both in terms of power and in how dated you could say said approach is.
In this moment of Olympic national pride, its hard not to feel a touch of satisfaction that such a good quality record has been created by a British band. Bury Tomorrow have made a valiant attempt to place themselves in the upper echelons of British metalcore that’s currently dominated by the likes of Bring Me The Horizon. Not only are they doing so in a genre that has been largely exhausted, but they’ve done so with an album that’s pointedly British when the genre’s masterpieces mostly swear allegiance to the Star-Spangled Banner.
Sounds like: While She Sleeps,
Lamb of God, Killswitch Engage.
Standout tracks: Redeemer, Lionheart, Bitemark.