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Burweed: Hide

A musical approach that I'm certain most progressive metal fans are familiar with is what I like to call the "majesty and malice" approach. This songwriting style is a mixture of folk-like serenity and crushing metal riffs, popularized by bands such as Opeth and Agalloch. Today, it's usually considered a time-tested and generally approved way to create musical juxtaposition and maintain a sense of intrigue throughout a song, particularly with metalheads who want a bit more variety in their music. Plus, in the end, it's just great to create a musical world that your listener can feel at home with. So in the end, it's definitely appropriate for Helsinki act Burweed to make some real strides with this musical approach with their new album Hide.

Burweed's music has usually been compared to the likes of Mastodon and Deftones, and this comparison certainly isn't unfounded. The heavier portions, while containing more gravelly vocals than either of the aforementioned bands, evoke a sort of downtuned sludge and somber atmosphere that defined much of their work. While Hide only contains six songs in total, part of the album's progressive nature comes with the fact that these songs can be quite long and long-winded, especially the final three tunes. The melodic portions, particularly in the opening of "Dilate" and much of "Tire Iron," are absolutely gorgeous and tend to coincide with the cold landscapes of Burweed's hometown… the latter even starts with some sparse guitar chords over the sound of wind to contribute to this effect. Also, there's almost always adequate time to build up to the heavier sections, rather than the band just creating a disjointed mess of dynamic shifts. As stated in a blog by Harboring Ghosts, "this is Post-Metal played right."

What's remarkable as well is that there are only three members in this band, with no backing musicians that I know of. Two of the members are vocalists as well, something that's consistently impressive as they weave in and out of their mixture of gruff and clean vocals with ease. The first three songs tend to focus more on the gravelly vocals, whereas (as I stated before), the longer tracks appropriately go through a bit more build-up to get to them. In any case, it's certainly another good way to contribute to the album's varied songwriting. "Lye" is probably the best song in terms of showcasing both vocal styles together, as the heavier sections feature them contrasting with each other in some neat ways. Again, though, what really makes this album shine is the atmosphere. The whole thing, whether during the heavy or soft moments, is a very cold and dark experience. You can feel the agony through the guttural and highly distorted sections, and you can feel the depression through the cleaner and more reflective portions. Also, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the trio's high level of instrumental skill. What's great about music like this is that it proves you don't need a thousand instruments or synthesizer effects to get the job done… just three people who know what they're doing in their respective roles.

In the end, Burweed absolutely do know what they're doing. This might be their only full-length, and I'm always hesitant to give a 5-star rating to an up-and-coming artist, but Hide might eventually reach that point upon more listens. This is a true progressive metal gem from people who are dedicated to their craft and know that passion and memorability are what comes first. Bravo, guys.

1. Swallow
2. Lye
3. Lie
4. Dilate
5. Tire Iron
6. Hide/Defend

Added: April 15th 2015
Reviewer: Brendan Schroer
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 1883
Language: english

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