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Album Review: RE-BURIED Repulsive Nature

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With only a self-titled EP under their belts, Seattle's Re-Buried has stirred enough buzz in their local scene to share bills with fellow old-school death metallers 200 Stab Wounds and Undeath. Their momentum continues with a debut LP called Repulsive Nature, bringing 35 minutes of gnarled brutality with roots in many eras of death metal's dark history. In all its unfiltered heaviness, Re-Buried captures the energy of death metal in its most primal form without divulging into impenetrable noise, absurd extremity or overindulgence.

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Granted, it's easy to sum up Re-Buried as by-the-book death metal. The building blocks are there but, like many old-school revivalists, Re-Buried commits to rejuvenating an era of extreme music before drum triggers, progressive noodling and whatever the hell "cavernous death metal" is. Yes, opener "From Beneath" and the title track both charge fourth with a thick wall of buzzsaw guitars and tumbling blast beats, but they also benefit from a diverse array of riffs from guitarists Ed Bingaman and Paul Richards. The songs cycle through flavors of Stockholm-style tremolo, hard-nosed hard-nosed East Coast grooves and wicked harmonies, with monstrous rasps from Mat Chandlerto to hark back to the Florida sound.

Through their raw production value, Re-Buried captures a sense of danger—like "Planetary Obliteration" is on the verge of collapse, held together by sheer savagery. In this case, more chunky riffs bring some proto-brutal death to mind, but the band remains remarkably multi-chromatic in its ferocious onslaught. Much of this is owed to drummer Alex Bytnar, whose fleshy grooves separate "Infinite Suffering" from the violent blitz with a mid-tempo stomp. The changes in feel and dynamic can be felt as well as heard, making for some cathartic drops and foreboding Carcass-style guitar leads.

Re-Buried shows that playing "old-school" doesn't have to mean "redundant" if a band knows where to grab from and where to use it most effectively. Tremolo picking allows "Hypocrisy Incarnate" to add atmospheric qualities to its bulky crescendos, while its root in lumbering heaviness comes to fruition with bone-snapping rhythm changes and bulldozing mosh parts. But these elements easily adapt to a more polarized arrangement like "Smouldering Remnants," pitting bluesy hammer-on pull-offs against walls of intensity. It's authentically grimy and nasty, but tight enough to stake a claim of memorability in the chaos.

While more functional as a precursor to "Sepulchral Stench," the eerie clean guitar arpeggios in "Dismal Hallucinations" highlight Re-Buried's understanding of nuance within their throttling aura. It's not just about sounding heavy, but scary as well. This translates onto "Sepulchral," in that the band wrote the song to channel something deeper than blunt force trauma. The triplet chug-and-blast brings plenty blunt force trauma, but actively listening to Re-Buried reveals the creeping dread that made the original death metal movement so distinct back in the day.

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There's even some death and role tendencies to chew on during "Throne of Asmodeus" to round out the Re-Buried sound, with infectious licks and sticky grooves alluding to death-doom and even some slammy sections. To that effect, the moody intro of "Rancid Womb" evolves into a final bombshell of stabbing chugs and grating tremolo that evolves as naturally as it remains true to gruesome primitivism. It all culminates in an immensely satisfying "fight riff"—the part of their set where hardcore kids who probably stood still for most of the set begin their kick-boxing-the-air routine. Such a riff has become a bit of an unspoken necessity for this new troop of death metal bands, and they pull it off as effectively as the album's final moments of lonesome, minor-key clean guitar strains.

Every city needs a solid band to hold down the death metal faith at mixed-bill shows, and Re-Buried has more than cemented their candidacy to be that band for Seattle. They have a little something for every fan of the genre, and that'll continue to pay dividends for them as this album cycle reaches its boiling point.

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