At some point a generic sound is a point of comfort for the listener who’d love the classics eternally but take very seldom steps into the sunlight beyond that charming Pan-European pre-1995 death metal modus. To say that the HM-2 distortion pedal is a crutch might be too aggressive on my part but, its overblown and grisly sustenance now characterizes entire cults of personality to some excess within modern death metal variants and often between the same circle of conspirators. The sounds are not new, the riffs are not new, and to be sure those variations had been exhausted by the turn of the millennium. You could absolutely write off an album like ‘Trinity of Deception’ from Friesland, Netherlands based death metal act Burial Remains as creatively bankrupt and average among the high standards of death metal in 2019 but, the nuance will remain interesting to those who seek this sound and delight in its subtle variants.
To be sure I couldn’t be more ‘on the fence’ when faced with the too often tread realm of the ‘Sunlight Studios sound‘ and its several generational permutations. On one hand it can be nostalgic if the atmosphere is right and the songwriting isn’t mechanical but most often it is a sterile and grossly over-produced nightmare of cranked-up weak-willed hardcore riffs even most trashy Swedish crust bands wouldn’t touch. It becomes necessary to approach each record in this style on a case-by-case basis and give those nuances a chance beyond the generic sound. This was the case when approaching Burial Remains which features Sven Gross, who has been Fleshcrawl‘s vocalist since ‘Bloodred Massacre’, as well as members who’re shared between Grim Fate, Boal, and Dimæon. Now, if you’re familiar with each of these groups they’re all quite different between brutal, progressive, and Finnish inspired styles so it comes as a small surprise that Burial Remains feels entirely Swedish until considering Fleshcrawl‘s early years where they more or less sounded like Dismember after the first album.
If my arm were twisted I’d generally compare a full listen of ‘Trinity of Deception’ to Massacre‘s debut on a very superficial level but with vocals that sound quite a bit like Benediction circa ‘Transcend the Rubicon’ and then the earlier records from Entrails in terms of songwriting. Basic progressions, fairly mid-paced material, and a sub-30 minute length make it a quick and easy listen that leaves very little impression. Their cover of Kreator‘s “Tormentor” is mind-numbingly pointless and clashes with the mood the rest of the album creates but hey, if I can give a pass to Rotting Christ for this, then these guys deserve one too. At this point it surely sounds like I’m squatting over this record ready to dump on it but I’ve enjoyed sitting with it multiple times even if it does nothing new. There is something to be said for the loud and forceful mix/master provided by Jonny Pettersson (Wombbath, Heads For The Dead, Nattravnen) that gives the sense of a professional production that is matched by generally high quality studio performances. A few subtle touches throughout the full listen do generate some interest, particularly the ’92-’94 Paradise Lost-meets-Bolt Thrower hooks that pop up within “They Crawl” and I thought “March of the Undead” was a pretty cool song for the Murder Squad-esque slower sections. There are some sharp moments that take a bit of digging to get to but once you’ve found them I felt like ‘Trinity of Deception’ was somewhat repeatable.
It is unfortunate that Burial Remains‘ debut reads so generic up front because it’ll surely drive folks away from the more subtle details that give ‘Trinity of Deception’ its nascent sonic personality. The EP length, poor cover song, and generic sound don’t bode well for a high recommendation but the record is highly competent and an easy listen that’ll buzz by in a strong enough manner to please the average old school Swedish death metal fan looking for something that isn’t necessarily challenging. Moderate recommendation. For preview I’d suggest “They Crawl” and “Days of Dread” as the better highlights of the record and “March of the Undead” for some needed variation.
Stench of rotting flesh. 3.5/5.0
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