British metalcore quintet, Bury Tomorrow, have released their sixth album, Cannibal. When they gained the attention of metal fans across the world, they were adamant and explicit in their belief that metalcore was still relevant, despite the press making it seem less so.
This release follows the success of Black Flame, which rocketed them upwards; for the third consecutive album, they were in the UK’s Top 40 Albums, and consequent European and UK touring ended at the Roundhouse in London. Fans have been waiting for Cannibal for a long time – the release date has been pushed back on multiple occasions, due to concerns with Covid-19. However, they haven’t completely starved their fans of content. Since the album was announced in 2019, they have released a handful of songs to the public but fans have still desperately wanted more, and have been waiting for this day for a very long time.
The first thing to note about the album is that it handles a myriad of complex issues relating to mental health. Lyrically, the album is Dani’s (lead vocals) story as he addresses some of the hardest moments of his life, and it seems to be a very cathartic experience. Everyone reaches a point where they have to get everything off their chest, and this was that moment for Dani. The lyrics explore different areas of the subject in different songs, meaning that almost everyone can find something to resonate with and relate to. It’s hard to talk about the album as a whole because of how diverse it is – each song has a classic feel to it but is beautifully unique.
With such an intense subject, it makes sense that the songs themselves would reflect this, and they do it well. The introductory song, “Choke”, eases you in with a second of silence, and then pulls you further with the slow turning up of an electrifying riff. It’s clear that this is an album that’ll put you through emotional turmoil, in the best way.
The first song on the album that fans haven’t heard yet would be “Imposter”. The song pulls you in from the first second with an indomitable riff. It is fast as lightning and lays out the pace for the song. Then, it goes low, and takes a breath until the vocals are reintroduced, pulling out that guttural growl once more. Musically, it is a classic Bury Tomorrow song. It has the sound that came from Black Flame and is familiar to long-term listeners.
“The Agonist” is the next unreleased song and is the only song that immediately introduces the vocals. Rather than easing the listener in, Dani throws you into it. There’s no build up – instead you’re thrown into a whirlwind of the pounding drums, electrifying guitars, and feral growls of the first verse. It’s fast-paced, repetitive, catchy. It’s definitely the catchiest song on the album. There’s a rhythm to it that you can’t get out of your head, especially when the lyrics are sung during the chorus.
The song I really wanted to draw attention to is “Quake”- it’s different to every other song on the album. Unlike the others, which are rapid and intense; it ebbs and flows. It’s the opposite to the others in the way that the verses and bridge are sung, whereas the chorus is a growl. With the vocals as the star of the show, Jason’s melodic voice is presented more than ever at the forefront. The guitars and drums are peeled back so the vocals can take centre stage. Between each section there are a few seconds of the guitars alone before the lyrics are belted out once more. At the 3-and-a-half-minute mark, the guitars are alone, playing a soft riff, before the vocals are reintroduced and is the most emotionally poignant anthem of this album.
Cannibal is the perfect representation of how Bury Tomorrow have evolved. Compared to Black Flame, they have escalated to the next level. They have progressed their sound while still staying true to who they are, and the message they intended to give to their fans – that metalcore is alive and well, and that there is always someone out there who understands, no matter what you are going through. The dynamic vocals between Jason and Dani create a level of complexity to the album that brings something new to the table. Everything about Cannibal is a combination of new and old, and it’s clear that Bury Tomorrow will be achieving great things in the future.