Last night, I made myself a grilled cheese sandwich for dinner. I’m no chef, so this was most certainly not a gourmet affair. Cheddar, wheat bread, and some salsa for dipping (yeah, try it and wait for your head explode). That’s it. Not an elaborate or complex meal in any way, shape, or form. But damn was it delicious. As a matter of fact, I would have taken that grilled cheese sandwich over some fairly expensive cuisine last night. Say what you will, but a homemade grilled cheese sandwich always gives me exactly what I want, and has not once in my life disappointed me.
The old school sound peddled by Dutch dynamos Burial Remains, by very stretched and utterly absurd analogy, is the grilled cheese sandwich of death metal. Their debut album, Trinity of Deception, has very few (if any) frills or excess adornment to its core sound. There’s little to no technical or progressive wankery to be found throughout its perfectly brief runtime. It’s instead bludgeoning to a fault, paced intensely throughout, and performed with all the competence one should expect and demand from a band drawing deeply from the old school and Swedish styles of death metal. It’s nothing that you haven’t heard before, but is exactly what you need if you’re a fan of any of this genre’s manifestations. Simple, reliable, and delicious. Which is exactly, in my mind, what every old school death metal record should strive to be.
Trinity of Deception gives you absolutely zero seconds to wonder at what type of album you are about to hear. Wim de Vries’ guitar buzzes with near-perfect HM-2 aggression throughout opening track “Crucifixion of the Vanquished”, stacking riff after excellent riff over Danny Boonstra’s fantastic (and expertly produced) drum work. The production work on the whole is commendable here, as each instrument holds just the right amount of weight in the mix, never overwhelming any another and never losing a primal sense of violence. This aspect of the record’s overall sound is particularly noticeable in tracks like “They Crawl” and the record’s title track, which execute some fairly straightforward songwriting to perfection through a balance of sound that allows these tracks to feel utterly hard-hitting without every drowning in the murky production hell many OSDM albums tend to fall into in their never-ending quest for credibility.
But production quality is only as good as the songs it exists within. Thankfully, there isn’t a dud of a track on the record. Pulling directly from the legacies of Entombed and Dismember, Burial Remains unleash a stream of pure audio violence that’s as chunky and intense as the Swedish death metal idols they obviously venerate. “March of the Undead”, “Burn With Me”, and “Days of Dread” could each have been pulled straight from 1991, at least in regards to their overall sound and execution. Coupling fast/slow compositions with ominous religious overtones through a steady stream of samples, the band add just enough atmosphere and drama to the proceedings to keep things from getting monotonous. Finale “Tormenter” serves as the culmination of all the band have been building toward since the opening seconds of the record, sending listeners off with what will certainly be neck problems down the road due to all that headbanging. In all, there’s very little for fans of the genre not to love here.
Words like simplicity and directness are too often used with negative connotations when describing music, which is highly unfortunate. There are a multitude of virtues to be found in art that presents itself unadorned and without pretense, which is exactly what Burial Remains do here. Much like a grilled cheese sandwich, you know without any shadow of a doubt what it’s made of and what you’re going to get out of it: Pure deliciousness. Trinity of Deception is a fantastic debut that won’t throw you any sonic curveballs, nor does it ever intend to. This is music built to be consumed quickly, leaving little room for deliberation as to its deeper meanings or contexts. It’s high octane entertainment from start-to-finish, and sometimes that’s all I want and need from a death metal record. Highly recommended.
Trinity of Deception is out now via Transcending Obscurity Records, and is available for streaming and purchase on the band’s Bandcamp page.