These are the types of reviews that can often be challenging when you know little about the band bar one song you have been sent.
It can generally go a number of ways, but rather than bore you prematurely with an outline of the many variables, how about we just dive in together and see?
The self-titled debut EP from Perth metal outfit Buried Shallow starts with the track Death Of Me, introducing the band via a soothing musical passage overpowered by minimal vocal announcements and underscored by pleasant acoustic sounds, before stripping back the layers in one moment of madness to reveal the sinister and harsh underbelly.
As the vocals kick in, it becomes apparent Buried Shallow definitely live in the heavier spectrum of metal and sound like they revel in the chaos.
A heavy guitar chugg forms the nucleus of Death Of Me, laying the foundations while violently lurching to the forefront at sporadic intervals. Vocalist Charlie White is enveloped by a thick air of discontent, barking and snarling with venomous intent over an impenetrable and impressively tight rhythm section that adds a sense of foreboding all by themselves.
Generally, songs delivered with this much intensity tend to overplay their hand and drag things out to an elongated and drawn out conclusion, but Buried Shallow seem to be on top of this already, snapping the track to a close under the five-minute mark and leaving you hungry for more.
Swarm starts with an annihilation of his kit from drummer Matt Crossley that is quickly dissipated by an almighty scream from White that sounds like it should purge all of his demons at once.
But it doesn’t, as he enters a sonic battle once more with devastating effect.
Before things get too cozy a wicked bass run from Brett Bezerkowitz breaks things up momentarily before carnage once more becomes the order of the day.
There are quite a few subtle breakdowns of varying degrees going on here, which only serve to dissect the aggressive nature of Buried Shallow fleetingly while they summon forth more energy for the next assault.
This is brutal and uncompromising stuff, not for the faint-hearted or easily offended. Not from a lyrical point of view, because I have no idea what White is singing about, but the music itself is so full of menace that it in itself would be enough to offend the more reserved listener.
But then, they shouldn’t be listening, should they?
The beautifully named Schizofrantic is up next, starting precisely as the title suggests, before either Googz or Mark Honey kick into gear with a tasty guitar riff to get the party fully started. The vocal delivery here also lives up to the title, but it is the frenetic and isolated guitar pieces that provide the sonic structure.
Some nice double kicks from Crossley provide temporary respite (and that’s saying something) but Schizofrantic isn’t a song that relies on anything temporary. It is a rage-fuelled slab of monstrosity that is well crafted and beautifully paced – not words one would normally associate with music of this ilk.
And that’s one thing that is abundantly apparent only halfway through this debut EP. Buried Shallow are a band that relies on the sum of all parts to contribute to the overall sound. There are no flashy and unnecessary solos of any kind, just each instrument working towards the same goal sonically and emotionally. Something that is becoming all too rare in the modern age of music, where bands feel the need to fill empty spaces rather than let them breathe.
The old less is more ideal.
Paint With Pain explodes with a solid drum and guitar intro before shifting gear quickly the moment White joins the adventure. I still have no idea what they are singing about, but I reckon it’s fair to say Buried Shallow have a lot of pent-up anger and resentment to purge through their music. You just can’t sing about rainbows and butterflies in this manner.
Their music is thicker than the best custard on the shelves and twice as dense, with a malevolent charm that sweeps you up and leaves you totally at the mercy of your hosts. Which is another reason I’m glad I can’t understand the lyrics because I seriously doubt they are delivered with love.
Suffer Unto Me closes the EP and starts much the same as the opening track, but doesn’t quite let go with the same urgency.
It more eases into dangerous territory, forging a path more borne from curiosity than vengeance.
That’s not to say it isn’t heavy as fuck still – I doubt Buried Shallow have a love or slow song in them – but it seems to follow a more gradual trajectory that builds to an epic conclusion rather than start in the heat of battle and progress from there.
This song is beset by more tempo changes and breakdowns that are strategically placed to enhance the sonic direction rather than stagnate. Again, this is a hard craft to master, but one already embraced by Buried Shallow, elevating this debut EP into A class status from the get-go.
Where they go from here is anyone’s guess but judging from the quality on display here you can stake your inheritance on it being nothing short of damaging.