Burial Remains – Spawn of Chaos Review

Today marks not only my 100th full review here at AMG, but also the first time that I will be covering a band for the second time. Double milestone! Just over a year ago, I wrote about Trinity of Deception, the debut full-length from Dutch band Burial Remains. It was thoroughly enjoyable, if somewhat unremarkable in the songwriting department, but its primary victory was in achieving the quintessential Swedish death metal sound. Recent re-listening reminded me just how potent the band’s HM-2 attack can be, so I’ve been mixing and stockpiling two-stroke gasoline to prepare for all of the chainsawing I expect to hear on follow-up Spawn of Chaos. 2020 sees Burial Remains return with a new(ish) vocalist, a new bassist, and a new label, but can they recapture that sound that represents the Platonic ideal of Swedeath?

Well, they certainly can when they try, but that’s honestly not what the band seems to be going for on Spawn of Chaos. The sophomore effort sees the band expanding their sound, and for the most part, their music is all the better for it. Where Trinity of Deception was a 25 minute crash course in mostly blistering Swedeath, Spawn of Chaos sees Burial Remains adding a hefty amount of Bolt Thrower and even a bit of Amon Amarth to their Dismember/Entombed playbook. Driving grooves and mournful leads are interspersed with the buzzsaw D-beat, and this greatly enhances the memorability of the songs. Embedded single “Spear of Destiny” is probably the best example of the band’s newfound groove. Guitarist Wim de Vries as taken over vocal duties, and his dry roar closely resembles that of Karl Willetts, making the Bolt Thrower comparison feel even more applicable.

But don’t think for a moment that Burials Remains’ saw has forgotten how to buzz. Opener “As Darkness Shall Reign” wastes no time in deploying the HM-2 pedal with an intro that recalls Dismember’s “Override of the Overture,” and “Where Death Begins” follows it up with a sinister D-beat crusher. “At Dawn Came the Shadows” begins with a mournful tremolo and incorporates some immense, ringing chords and a crushing riff, and the melancholic “Slaves to the Cult” slows things down to a doomy crawl, and when all is said and done, the first half of Spawn of Chaos is pretty damn impressive. Unfortunately, the stellar first five tracks give way to three good, yet somewhat forgettable numbers before the album closes in killer fashion with a cover of Slaughter’s “Tortured Souls.”

This time around, Burial Remains have opted for an organic production, and it sounds incredible. This old school death metal sounds genuinely old school, making each listen an audible treat. It’s really too bad that the back half of the album loses a bit of steam, but the fact that Spawn of Chaos clocks in at 38 minutes but is every bit as enjoyable as its 25 minute predecessor shows that the band is trending in the right direction. With Spawn of Chaos, Burial Remains have more concisely nailed the Swedeath-with-melancholy sound for which Wombbath was aiming on their latest. To recap the killer selections here, check out “As Darkness Shall Reign,” “Where Death Begins,” “At Dawn Came the Shadows,” “Slaves to the Cult,” and “Spear of Destiny.”

While I may have scored Spawn of Chaos the same as its predecessor, this is still a superior record in almost every way, and only a slightly mushy back half kept me from bumping it up to 3.5. The organic production mixed with a groovy shift in songwriting results in Burial Remains producing another good death metal album to heap upon the beautifully fetid pile of 2020 releases.

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 10 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Raw Skull Recordz
Websites: burialremains.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/burialremains
Releases Worldwide: September 5th, 2020

« »