Artist: Buried Realm

Album Title: Embodiment Of The Divine

Label: Independent Release

Date of Release: 24 July 2020

When I was confronted with ‘The Ichor Carcinoma’, the debut release from Buried Realm, I was incredibly impressed. I was impressed by the music that confronted me, by the plethora of guest musicians that appeared, but mostly because of the fact that this is essentially a one-man project. It literally astounds me that there are musicians out there that are so talented that they can not only master one instrument, but several. It also makes me jealous given that I have spectacularly failed to get close to mastering anything music-related. I mean, come on, spread the talent around guys!

The architect of Buried Realm is one Josh Dummer, a multi-instrumentalist in the true sense; as with his debut, Josh has taken charge of everything on ‘Embodiment Of The Divine’, from writing the material, to playing the music, to recording the album. Also in keeping with ‘The Ichor Carcinoma’, this follow-up sees a plethora of guests adding their own embellishments to the music. This time around, we are treated to appearances from Andy Gillion (Mors Principium Est), Benjamin Ellis (Scar Symmetry), Bob Katsionis (ex-Firewind), Dean Arnold (Operus, ex-Vital Remains), Lee McKinney (Born of Osiris), Peter Wichers (ex-Soilwork), Rafael Trujillo (ex-Obscura), Ryan Strain (Chaos For The Masses)

You’ve got to be doing something right if you can coax this calibre of guests and so it will come as no surprise to discover that the finished article strongly backs up this theory. Once again, this is an album that impresses for the large part, where technical ability collides with strong songwriting to present the listener with music that is as interesting as it is entertaining.

Stylistically, the music of Buried Realm sits largely within the, err, realm of melodic death metal, but given the above list of guests, that’s hardly a well-kept secret. What you get is a satisfying level of technicality and complexity, as well as clear songwriting ambition, that is then married to some strong melodic sensibilities and finally laced with upbeat and flamboyant embellishments, be they a lead guitar solo, ferocious drum beat or groove-laden riff.

The opening track, ‘The Burning Remnants’ has to be one of the best songs on the album, straight off the bat. It kicks in with the ferocity and power of a pure underground death metal track, all scything riffs, lightning fast blast beats and deep, throaty growls that sound great. The song settles into a nice groove, with some higher-pitched screamed vocals thrown in for good measure, whilst we get hints at the technical prowess thanks to some well-placed, but not overbearing, leads. But then, at exactly the midway point, the song begins to noticeably open up to offer a more pronounced melody atop that central groovy riff. The lead solos are lengthy and superb, immediately catching my ear. And then, towards the end, we hear the influences from Symphony X and the like, thanks to an exuberant, almost neo-classical ending, complete with impossibly fast blasts and a dreamy synth-led outro.


‘Overlord’ follows and immediately reminds me of mid-era Arch Enemy thanks to the catchiness of the material and the bouncy, upbeat nature of the song. It’s quite a contrast to the opener, but it seems to work and shows us all that Dummer is keen to explore as much as possible within the confines of melodic death metal. To underline this point, ‘Master Psychosis’ takes over and is the third ‘different’ track in a row. The biggest change here is an increase in synths and the introduction of clean vocals, leading to comparisons, most notably, with Scar Symmetry and Soilwork.

The quality material comes thick and fast because ‘Scales of Queen Dragon’ is easily one of my favourites. It blends more of a power metal vibe into the extreme metal framework, as well as a touch of Children Of Bodom for my money. The chorus is a thing of real excellence however, the kind of chorus, thanks to a super lead guitar line, that gets trapped in my head and makes a big impression that only increases with repeated listens. It is also a pretty groovy track with yet more lead flamboyance. If you’re one of those people that doesn’t like solos in your metal, then ‘Embodiment Of The Divine’ is simply not going to be for you. You have been warned.

Elsewhere, ‘Silver Tongue’ lets the Scar Symmetry influences loose, whilst ‘Infinite Mutation’ is another firm favourite. In some ways, it is similar to the opener in that it spends much of its time in a more extreme metal vein, only to whack you over the head with some beautiful melodies in the latter stages. That said, there are great melodies lurking throughout the track, as well as yet more excellent musicianship and a greater sense of the epic; I say this because more so than anywhere else, Dummer introduces real light and shade, allowing the synths to come more to the fore and letting brief moments of minimalism and peace enter the composition. But those melodies that enter around the 4:20 mark are scintillating, accented powerfully by a mixture of clean and gruff vocals.

My only real criticism of this record is that, despite the mastering by Dan Swanö, the production could have been a little better. It is clear as a bell for the most part, but it does lack clarity where the bass and drums are concerned. As such, the rhythm section does lose some of its punch, with the bass nearly non-existant and the ferocious blast beats a little light-sounding rather than punching the listener in the face. However, minor quibbles aside, ‘Embodiment Of The Divine’ is a great record, deservedly raising the stock of the talented Josh Dummer and Buried Realm ever higher. This is one of the best melodic death metal albums I have heard this year, just as the debut was back in 2017. By anyone’s standards, that’s an impressive run of form, one which I hope continues with album number three.

The Score of Much Metal: 89%

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xi8gb1w0gho&w=560&h=315]

Check out my reviews from 2020 right here:

Navian – Reset
Selenseas – The Outer Limits
Quantum – The Next Breath Of Air
Ensiferum – Thalassic
Long Distance Calling – How Do We Want To Live?
Airbag – A Day At The Beach
Re-Armed – Ignis Aeternum
Atavist – III: Absolution
Frost* – Others EP
Darker Half – If You Only Knew
Atavistia – The Winter Way
Astralborne – Eternity’s End
Centinex – Death In Pieces
Haken – Virus
Pile Of Priests – Pile Of Priests
Sorcerer – Lamenting Of The Innocent
Lesoir – Mosaic
Temnein – Tales: Of Humanity And Greed
Caligula’s Horse – Rise Radiant
…And Oceans – Cosmic World Mother
Vader – Solitude In Madness
Shrapnel – Palace For The Insane
Sinisthra – The Broad And Beaten Way
Paradise Lost – Obsidian
Naglfar – Cerecloth
Forgotten Tomb – Nihilistic Estrangement
Winterfylleth – The Reckoning Dawn
Firewind – Firewind
An Autumn For Crippled Children – All Fell Silent, Everything Went Quiet
Havok – V
Helfró – Helfró
Victoria K – Essentia
Cryptex – Once Upon A Time
Thy Despair – The Song Of Desolation
Cirith Ungol – Forever Black
Igorrr – Spirituality and Distortion
Nightwish – Human. II: Nature.
Katatonia – City Burials
Wolfheart – Wolves Of Karelia
Asenblut – Die Wilde Jagd
Nicumo – Inertia
The Black Dahlia Murder – Verminous
Omega Infinity – Solar Spectre
Symbolik – Emergence
Pure Reason Revolution – Eupnea
Irist – Order Of The Mind
Testament – Titans Of Creation
Ilium – Carcinogeist
Dawn Of Ouroboros – The Art Of Morphology
Torchia – The Coven
Novena – Eleventh Hour
Ashes Of Life – Seasons Within
Dynazty – The Dark Delight
Sutrah – Aletheia EP
Welicoruss – Siberian Heathen Horde
Myth Of I – Myth Of I
My Dying Bride – The Ghost Of Orion
Infirmum – Walls Of Sorrow
Inno – The Rain Under
Kvaen – The Funeral Pyre
Mindtech – Omnipresence
Dark Fortress – Spectres From The Old World
The Oneira – Injection
Night Crowned – Impius Viam
Dead Serenity – Beginnings EP
The Night Flight Orchestra – Aeromantic
Deadrisen – Deadrisen
Blaze Of Perdition – The Harrowing Of Hearts
Godsticks – Inescapable
Isle Of The Cross – Excelsis
Demons & Wizards – III
Vredehammer – Viperous
H.E.A.T – H.E.A.T II
Psychotic Waltz – The God-Shaped Void
Into The Open – Destination Eternity
Lunarsea – Earthling/Terrestre
Pure Wrath – The Forlorn Soldier EP
Sylosis – Cycle of Suffering
Sepultura – Quadra
Dyscordia – Delete / Rewrite
Godthrymm – Reflections
On Thorns I Lay – Threnos
God Dethroned – Illuminati
Fragment Soul – A Soul Inhabiting Two Bodies
Mariana Semkina – Sleepwalking
Mini Album Reviews: Moloken, The Driftwood Sign & Midnight
Serenity – The Last Knight
Ihsahn – Telemark EP
Temperance – Viridian
Blasphemer – The Sixth Hour
Deathwhite – Grave Image
Marko Hietala – Pyre Of The Black Heart
SWMM – Trail Of The Fallen
Into Pandemonium – Darkest Rise EP
Bonded – Rest In Violence
Serious Black – Suite 226
Darktribe – Voici L’Homme
Brothers Of Metal – Emblas Saga
A Life Divided – Echoes
Thoughts Factory – Elements

You can also check out my other reviews from previous years right here:

2019 reviews
2018 reviews
2017 reviews
2016 reviews
2015 reviews