Coming off of their seven year hiatus, Burial Invocation has returned with their well anticipated first full-length record. While they already have an EP and a split under their belt, Abiogenesis is the group’s first official dive within the scene. Drop the needle and go along with these Turkish death metal necromancers as they summon spirits and demons from beyond…
As their band name, album artwork, song lyrics/titles, and pretty much all of their content suggests, Burial Invocation’s music centers around summoning theory and bringing things to life via rituals of the occult. The artwork featured on the cover of Abiogenesis displays this perfectly; an ancient altar home to a rising ghostly entity stranded between miles of endless uninhabited ocean. The theme is concurrent within the album itself and forms a solid base for everything henceforth.
Prior to the dissection of a piece, we must first understand the artist and their influences. Burial Invocation is a four-man death metal group from Istanbul, Turkey. The quartet is a supergroup of sorts when discussed in relation to the Turkish metal scene, as all members each belong to other local acts in addition to their membership to the group in question. While none reach levels of popularity that parallel that of Burial Invocation’s, the members are nonetheless dedicated to their various other projects, to the point that such partakings halted Burial Invocation’s activity for nearly eight years.
The group publicly announced their Burial Invocation-related activities back in 2017 by informing their fans of their progress on a new album. Said release, Abiogenesis, is the piece in question which came out earlier this month on July 6th. While referring to it as a concept album may be a stretch, the release nonetheless swirls around the same concept of creation which is progressed song after song. This theme starts at your very first introduction to the album with its creatively-named title Abiogenesis. The term refers to a creation of a living entity, or one that can foster life, through the use of inorganic or inanimate substances. So, in layman’s terms, the Big Bang which created everything we know and love today could be referred to as an Abiogenesis; the same could be said with the well-known Immaculate Conception. Thus, Burial Invocation must be cooking up some pretty tasty pasta when rivaled by the creation of our universe and Jesus himself.
Abiogenesis’ content breakdown reflects the nature of the record. The release includes an unconventional total of five songs, with the last being a two minute long acoustic-based instrumental. The other four are all lengthy numbers, with the longest track clocking in at just over twelve minutes long. The unorthodox composition of the release allows for the group to experiment at length with song structures and other key elements, ultimately making for a unique release.
The lead guitar work, particularly shown off within the various solo sections on the record, is one of the album’s strong points. The songs all offer the soloist free reign over his instrument, who uses the opportunity to open up into these meandering, backtracking, free-flowing guitar solos that really add to the cryptic nature of the release. This quality lends itself toward the parallel nature of Abiogenesis with Death’s fourth album, Spiritual Healing. The aforementioned is my all-time favourite record, and the reasoning behind this lies within this similar cryptic element to the sonic atmosphere given. Death’s paradigm shift from the obsession of the grotesque to social commentary evolved with the nature of their music, which offered listeners a more progressive and technical soundscape in comparison to their earlier, more brutal records. The solos on the two releases really scratch that same itch. “Revival”, Abiogenesis’ intro track, perfectly displays this unorthodox lead guitar work and subsequent placement at the beginning of the song, rather than at the three-quarter mark, which is the usual timestamp for such an inclusion. Listen below.
The release as a whole does inevitably suffer from the choice of time distribution. As mentioned above, the meat and potatoes of the album come in the form of four tracks, each spanning roughly ten minutes long. While the decision to implement such a unique format is applauded for being out-of-the-norm, even to the point that it fits with the themes of the album, I can’t help but feel like none of the tracks are very distinguishable. While each song has their moments, the entire release tends to blend into a forty-two minute piece, barring the intricate introduction and the acoustic instrumental at the back. Everything in between tends to get lost within the barrage of riffs, blast beats, and intricate solo sections. The tracks themselves don’t feel like they are anchored down to anything in particular that, as a listener, I can anticipate and look forward to later in the song.
This is all consequential to the lengthy songs and their peculiar compositions. I simply find myself tuning the music out if I am not focusing on paying attention to it, as there aren’t many hooks and the song structures aren’t reliable in the sense that they suffer from a lack of formula. While there are times during the album’s play span that you can point out a chorus that you heard earlier in the song, or you can tie one solo’s style to a second one’s later during a track, the songs are simply too long and unhinged for me to enjoy them to the full extent.
These negativities I spew above might however reflect my lack of interest for the technical and progressive subgenres of metal. I myself have never been a fan of the overtly intricate and expansive music made by groups like Obscura or Gorguts. I find that this particular style sacrifices song structure and formula for the sake of showing off one’s skill in writing unique songs with an emphasis on a technical aspect. While Abiogenesis is by no means a progressive or technical album, it does share some of these characteristics which might be the cause for my discontent. Then again, I did highlight some parallels to Spiritual Healing, but I feel like its shorter song compositions lend better to the desired vibe than Abiogenesis’ longer song format.
With that being said, I’ll give the record the benefit of the doubt, as you can tell it was crafted by passionate and proficient musicians. There are some excellent solos and other sections on the release, but it does suffer from the lengthy song format. I will recommend this release to fans of tech-death or progressive metal who want to consume a piece that lends more towards the crossroads of simple, catchy music and overtly technical works.