The most inevitable path of the undeterred skeptic is to salt the earth with true and certain nihilism. Baudrillard would naturally suggest that children born into a world with forced transparency have dimmed, half-shut eyes in the face of the post-apocalypse; They appear as refuse, callous dregs turning post-abortive gears in a grand machine of human construct set to fail and dissolve centuries previous. The instinctual recourse is of course worshiping the void, to fixate and remain fascinated with the disappearance of all known things. However natural it might feel worshiping creation rather than extinction, at the very least some greater mental exercise can be found in questioning the instinctive allure of comfort and beauty. There are few saviors more gratifying within a meaningless automated existence than abrasion. To shed old skin with pure abrasion and feel renewed translates well within the science of learning and neuroplasticity where new connections made through unpleasant actions teach faster than the slowly dulling obsession with pleasant stimulus. Hence the natural respite offered by raw and callous black metal created by Vancouver, British Columbia sect Burial Shrine. Four years in utero from gestation to realization their debut full-length, ‘Labyrinth of Bridges’, offers laceration, contusion and true decline without remorse for the listener.
Though you’ll want to point towards Moonblood, The Black, or Katharsis upon hearing the immediate attack of ‘Labyrinth of Bridges’ there is an underlying sorrow found in the more subtle rhythm guitar arrangements that suggest hints of early Sargeist as well. The philosophy of abrasive (raw) value isn’t lost upon me though it’d be reductive to stop there in description of the persistent melodic guitar voicing that elevates Burial Shrine as a standout worth mentioning. As much as I was expecting a somewhat flippant set of brutal, scraping punkish songs ‘Labyrinth of Bridges’ quickly reveals a voice on par with Judas Iscariot (“To See Beyond the Mask”) although chaotic clangor is employed to balance out melodic interest (“To Glimpse the Absolute”) such as basslines provided by CM (Spell, Reversed, ex-Stryker). So, the experience is less a blender of pompous retching and instead delivered with an oft contemplative tone.
The title track is an intentional end point for the record that is fitting procession, a necessary release for an intensely detailed black metal album. Violins from Terence O’Shea (Griefwalker) among other guests add to its soaring fifteen minute build that begins to feel more like olden Panopticon than the rest of the record might. This song adds great value as both notable punctuation for the experience and a compelling reason to listen to the whole thing repeatedly. It is always disappointing to connect with a black metal release that is largely unintentional and, for what it is worth, most every aspect of Burial Shrine‘s debut appears intentioned and wrought with some purposeful hand. At the very least ‘Labyrinth of Bridges’ resonates as a ripping, chaotic beast of moderately raw black metal and successfully leaves a notable impression. Recommended.
Relief within the grave. 3.75/5.0
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