Personnel: Daniel Winter-Bates, Jason Cameron (vocals); Mehdi Vismara (guitar); Davyd Winter-Bates (bass guitar); Adam Jackson (drums).
Audio Mixer: Pedro Teixeira.
Recording information: Cds Studios, UK; Ridgeway Studios, UK.
Editors: Jeff Dunne; Clinton Watts.
Bury Tomorrow's debut album came and went in 2009 with relatively little fanfare outside the band's native U.K., but after signing a new worldwide deal with Nuclear Blast Records, the Hampshire-based quintet appears poised to make a much bigger impression in 2012 with its sophomore effort, The Union of Crowns. While so many contemporary metalcore bands suffer from serious schizophrenia, flitting desperately from polar extremes of dark and light, fury and serenity, and generally falling about as though any sign of an even-keeled disposition would alienate them from their ADD-afflicted target audience, Bury Tomorrow stealthily emerge from the bottom of the pile with much more cohesive and satisfying songs. That's not to say these neglect the more violent end of the sonic spectrum: in fact, vast swathes of "The Maiden," "Royal Blood," "Kingdom," and others indulge in copious gruesome growls, jackhammer guitar work, and machine-like drum tattoos worthy of the toughest metalcore merchants out there -- it's just that all this aggression always meshes judiciously with melodic counterpoints to maximum effectiveness. Think of it as a partnership of opposites, not a conflict, and it's honestly hard to think of a band since Killswitch Engage that's successfully balanced the two facets this fluidly (and that includes the frequent incremental synthesizer parts and piano intro for "1603"). To that end, the simply outstanding "Lionheart" comes out king of the castle, weaving dexterously performed layered guitar harmonies that elevate every surrounding feature to impressive heights, followed closely by secondary highlights such as "Knight Life" and "Vacant Throne." Finally, when was the last time you saw a metalcore band choosing to write about medieval politics instead of sniffing about post-emo failed teenage relationships? Bottom line: Bury Tomorrow stake a helluva claim for the melodic metalcore scepter with The Union of Crowns. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia