Reviewing a friend’s record is always a bit of a daunting task, considerably more so when the entire band is comprised of people you grew up with, people you know much more deeply than on a simply musical level. I wouldn’t necessarily call it a conflict of interest, however. I’d like to think that anyone at this (or any) magazine would be above promotion for promotion’s sake—I certainly am—and if you can know for a fact that a band’s sentiments are genuine and passionate, not only through their lyrics, but from a firsthand account of their lifestyle, I think you’re in as good a position as any, if not better, to give an accurate review. Born out of Ottawa, Canada’s ‘90s hardcore community, spearheaded by groups such as Shotmaker, Uranus, Okara, and their Francophone counterparts in Drift, Jonah, and One Eyed God Prophecy, Buried Inside has evolved over four full-lengths (the last two on Relapse) from the chaotic sounds of its initial influences into a furious, pummeling combination of those aforementioned groups and more current purveyors of doom such as latter-era Neurosis. Their 2004 offering, Chronoclast, was a massive step forward in terms of songwriting and production (it was the band’s first pairing with producer Matt Bayles, who also mixed this most recent release, with Converge’s Kurt Ballou handling the recording process), and Spoils of Failure is yet another step forward in the band’s evolution. While I’m personally a bit bummed by the near-complete abandoning of the frenzied, speedy passages that were characteristic of their earlier albums, there’s no arguing that these are the best songs the band has crafted to date, and Spoils of Failure is certainly as lyrically thought-provoking as anything the band has done before. It’s funny to know that these five guys are giving the same chills to thousands of people around the world that they gave to a tiny basement full of their closest friends some ten years ago, and I’m positive Spoils of Failure is only going to add to that number. Great work, fellas.
–Dave William (Relapse)