Bury Your Dead – Beauty and the Breakdown

Bury Your Dead
Beauty and the Breakdown

J.G. Ballard – possibly one of the last personalities I would have expected myself to utilize in a review of a band such as Bury Your Dead – wrote an exquisite short story titled “The Drowned Giant” about a city shaken up by the washing up of a deceased behemoth on a local beach. Understandably, the people are both shrewd and eager in their approach of creature. Some individuals study and attempt to comprehend its existence, but in a short amount of time, the colossal fellow loses his original mystic, and soon there are several individuals to be found clambering about all over his inanimate being in acts of equal parts genuine interest and heartless desecration. Various merchants and interested citizens begin to amputate sections of the body for profit and ornamentation, and, also due to its worsening decadent state, the giant is abandoned and ultimately forgotten.

See how this serves as a viable interface for the current metalcore scene? Straight to the point, I’d be delighted to see the carcass of the genre disassembled and its memory suppressed before it has the opportunity to further corrode and flood our respectability with the pungent smell of sweaty teens punching air during a breakdown; noxious fumes from festering flesh and perspiring adolescents – see my connection? A few relics of it can remain as reminders of the phenomenon – a pair of chick jeans once worn by someone obviously male, a white bandanna, a black Converge shirt, a revolver keychain – but let’s eat our losses and retire the bands and their collective works to the Ididwhatasateenager?! section of the Museum of Inexcusable Musical Transgressions forevermore.

Now, to Beauty and the Breakdown. I won’t blame Bury Your Dead in full for my disillusionment with metalcore music, but being forced to listen to this album so many times has given me the extra push I needed in order to come down hard on the style, those who inhabit it, and those who all too willingly fall prey to even its most basic constraints. I don’t mean to sound as if the album is bothersome out of some contractual obligation imperative to the band’s subsistence, though I’m certain harsher detractors would cynically agree. Rather, it’s a bland exercise in what the band describes as a fusion of “fun and ferocity,” though with “fun”’s connotation set to mean “CHUGGA CHUGGA” and “ferocity”’s set to “DUN DUN TINK.”

Clairvoyance isn’t necessary to guess what type of music an album titled Beauty and the Breakdown would contain, but it would have been a touching consolation for Bury Your Dead to throw in a curve ball somewhere to break up the cumbersome monotony. The farthest out the band is willing to reach for even a breath of originality lies in a half-assed attempt at a fairy tale motif for the song titles and booklet filler, but, for some reason, I can’t imagine deriving “I look at you / With disgust, despair, and regret / All we’ve been through / How could you fuckin’ forget?” from any children’s narrative. It sounds more to me like they put away the Brothers Grimm in favor of a black-and-white composition book scribbled with a melancholy teen’s inane thoughts.

If there indeed is fun happening on this disc like the band proclaims, it’s obscured by the bevy of gnarled shouts and calculable, rudimentary breakdowns. Ignore this one unless you’re in dire need of a reason to mosh or do windmill kicks.