Following the release of their 2017 debut EP ‘…And The Sum Of Its Parts’ and continuous touring, A Burial at Sea have managed to carve a unique position for themselves in the post-rock genre.
They have achieved this by including horns in their ensemble. The warm tones of trumpets are often in contrast with the harsh intensity of fast, distorted guitar and crashing drums that comes from the rest of the line-up. In theory it shouldn’t work but in practice it’s executed wonderfully, as exemplified on their self-titled debut album ‘A Burial at Sea’.
The album’s short opening track, Intro (Dean’s Deed) is a perfect appetiser for what’s to come. The build of noise anticipates the bombardment of sound about to be experienced, while the horn’s long notes bring a delicate, almost ethereal tone to the track. This intensity is carried onto, You Really Did Grow After All and resolved by an explosion of distorted guitars and pummelled drums.
Breezehome shows off the band’s technical abilities, with complex rhythms and a math rock-level of organised chaos. Single, Nice From Afar, Far From Nice, also demonstrates the band’s excellent musicianship, with a fast tempo indicative of black metal before a tranquil middle section of reverbed guitars and subdued drumming gives way to the horn section as the trumpet takes the melodic lead.
Similarly, the album’s second single D’accord carries a rapid tempo, with fast, plucky guitar leading the way. However, D’accord is a lot brighter than other tracks on the album, fully utilising the ability of the horns to create a triumphant, euphoric soundscape.
Lightning Blanket is another highlight. Opening with moody guitar, the track soon erupts with booming drums, before a surprising turn sees it strip down to bright plucky guitars. This is the only track on the album with vocals. The band sing in unison, describing beautiful scenes of sunshine at “a place I call my own,” conveying a sense of nostalgia for home. However, this brief moment of calm is soon drowned out by intense surge of guitars and horns.
With this debut album, A Burial at Sea have succeeded in making their mark in the experimental rock scene. The balance between harsh, loud noise and moments of tranquillity along with the interesting timbre of the horns results in a distinctive sound that is truly a musical treat.