Back when I was a snot-nosed n00b, I waxed non-poetically about how old school death metal has never really grabbed me all that hard. Now that I’m a snot-nosed non-n00b1, I should probably set the record straight and disclose that the Swedish death metal sound really does have a place in my heart. That Boss HM-2 guitar tone is just so nasty, and when it’s combined with punk rhythms, it can induce an almost trancelike state with its beautifully bouncing beefiness. That sound is what has set a lot of European death metal apart in my
Holden eyes, and I almost universally ignore the OSDM bands from my own country because of it.2 Today, I get to chew on the debut album from Burial Remains, a new entity formed by experienced members of several other bands from Germany and the Netherlands. Does Trinity of Deception have that familiar yet satisfying taste of death that I love?
Yes, and it tastes good. The buzzsaw starts immediately, and the unburned fumes of gasoline accompany you through a short and sweaty tour of all that’s great about Swedeath. Vocalist Sven is no stranger to death metal as he’s fronted Germany’s Fleshcrawl since 1997. His barks remind me of Corpsegrinder Fisher’s and work really well to carry the tunes here. Guitar duo Wim and Phillipus have studied the Dismember and Entombed discographies, as evidenced on “They Crawl,” a song would sit comfortably on a Swedish death metal sampler platter. Speaking of crawling, a bit of Autopsy enters the equation as things slow down into doom territory on portions of “March of the Dead,” “Burn with Me,” opener “Crucifixion of the Vanquished,” and the title track. The latter is particularly terrifying with its intro sample of a church ritual being performed while a child screams. Fun!
At 25 minutes, Trinity of Deception never has a chance to overstay its welcome. Short, punchy tracks like the aforementioned “They Crawl” and closing barnburner “Tormentor” are wisely placed in the tracklist to allow the ebbs and flows of the more doomy passages to have maximum impact. Drummer Danny deserves a shoutout for energetically driving the music forward and effortlessly slipping from rhythm to rhythm as the music quickly changes styles. His performance on embedded track “Burn With Me” is particularly great and part of what makes that track a highlight of the record. Overall, Burial Remains have crafted a competent debut and have nailed the sound for which they’re shooting.
However, as with any tried and true style, it takes a lot for a band playing this type of music to stand out from the pack, and that’s where Trinity of Deception falls a bit short. It’s fantastic when listening with nothing qualifying as filler, but only a few of the seven tracks land above the level of just plain good (“They Crawl,” “Burn with Me,” and “Tormentor”). The solos are quite simplistic and feel like they could use a little more flash, with the one on “Crucifixion of the Vanquished” being the most notable example, but these issues don’t keep the album from being enjoyable from start to finish. The Jonny Pettersson (Wombbath, Heads for the Dead) production captures the magic of the buzzsaw perfectly and makes Trinity of Deception an audible treat.
It’s hard to get overly excited about what Burial Remains is doing here when their Transcending Obscurity label mates Heads for the Dead showed us last year what can happen when a band truly pushes the Swedeath/OSDM envelope, but that doesn’t mean that fans of the genre won’t enjoy what they hear here. Trinity of Deception is worth 25 minutes of your time, but I can’t guarantee that a majority of it will stick with you much past that.