2009 Relapse Records
Normally my love for doom metal, however progressive or far-reaching it may be, runs roughly akin to Lambgoat's contempt for all things related to Emmure. Doom/post-metal/sludge, whatever, has always seemed as exciting as watching grass grow, only listenable when I am in the weirdest of moods, and when compared in the arena of all-things-metal, occupies a very small niche only frequented by the skuzziest or most stoned fans of the devil's music.
Nevertheless, I tried to approach Buried Inside's latest effort with a clean heart and open mind, knowing full well that their last album Chronoclast was a staggering one-song, 40-minute monolith. And after a few listens to SoF, I can see why Mr. Ballou would gladly share his services as a producer with this Canadian five-piece.
On Spoils of Failure Buried Inside once again shed conventional album structure, although this time they do have actual songs but only distinguish them with Roman numerals. It's cryptic, of course, and makes you wonder what theme the band was going for, if they had one in mind at all.
Fans of Chronoclast will know what to expect music-wise: slow, downtuned guitars that meander and plod while Nick Von Shaw's gruff vocals and Mike Godbout's patient drumming lay the foundations. Guitars shimmer and build like a manlier version of Explosions in the Sky before imploding into fantastic choruses where both guitars and Shaw's voice share the center stage, neither eclipsing the other. "V," probably the album's best track, seems to be going nowhere for its first three minutes before seamlessly transitioning into driving chords and a guitar riff that wanders and roams through the last half of the song while Shaw roars and Godbout sweats all over his kit.
It's powerful music when listened to in the right frame of mind. For me, listening to this type of music is all about having patience or being incredibly high (I'm not sure which). But when Buried Inside decide to kick into gear and make it worth your time, they do it in high style.
On "III," Shaw's frenetic screaming makes you think the dude might've actually lost his shit for real this time as the rest of the outfit crafts a multiple-movement opus that never makes you feel like you're listening to an 11-plus minute song. "VIII" finishes Spoils of Failure just as heavy as it starts but contains a little self-awareness and ends the album with a slight hint of finality.
Bottom Line: There's hardly a weak track to be found on Spoils of Failure. These Canadians have seemingly spent the past four years polishing and perfecting this release. Melodies and chord progressions will snake their way into your subconscious where they'll be hammered home with a deliberation and ferocity sorely lacking in much of today's metal. Sitting confidently at the top of their game and among the stalwarts of the prog-metal/doom genre, Buried Inside have put out a record that might reside in many listeners' top ten albums of 2009.