Live Burial – Curse Of The Forlorn (Transcending Obscurity Records)

Live Burial’s long-awaited sophomore album, Unending Futility, arrived in 2020… as we went into lockdown. It wasn’t great timing, especially given the gap between that record and Forced Back To Life, their 2016 debut.

But while the quintet’s touring plans were stunted, the sheer force of Unending Futility propelled Live Burial forward, even if fans had to wait until October ’21 to see it unleashed on stage.

The Newcastle outfit have built on that momentum.

Anyone who witnessed their UK Deathfest set would have seen a band eager to return to the fray.

And with Curse Of The Forlorn, they have a remarkable array of songs to do that with.

Live Burial define their sound on Curse Of The Forlorn

Live Burial have built on the promise of Unending Futility.

They have created a corrosive musical architecture that echoes with the screams of death metal’s ancestral spirits, and is underscored by technical dexterity and unbridled ambition.

The spectral shimmer of their previous work is even more foreboding, yet there’s a greater urgency to their assault too: Exhumation and Execution is Exhibit A.

Guitarists Rob Hindmarsh and Jake Bielby balance graveyard atmospherics with searing, inventive fretwork. Lee Anderson’s proggy basslines writhe like Cthulhu’s tentacles. And Jamie Brown’s Schuldiner/van Drunen roar rasp scorches the earth.

The band have undoubtedly moved up a level.

It’s evident as soon as the elaborate, synth-backed intro to Despair of the Lost Self, shifts into a raging hellstorm, a jaw dropping moment made all the more powerful by Matt Henderson’s intelligent kitwork.

My Head Is Tribute is offered up in similar fashion, lurching into undead life and then gathering speed and intensity, before reaching a thrashing, rabid climax.

And like much of Curse Of The Forlorn, that track is a labyrinth of dank passages that open up into chambers of sonic slaughter. The song doesn’t pass the six minute mark, but time seems to warp around it.

However, like its predecessor, this opus closes with an odyssey: the 12-minutes of This Prison I Call Flesh see the North East outfit indulge their love of death doom and weave a complex arrangement into a shroud of sulphuric cemetery fog.

Not many acts would attempt it.

This band, however, can make their visions a reality.

And that’s key to what they have achieved with Curse Of The Forlorn.

Live Burial have harnessed the netherworld’s nightmares… and bent them to their deathly will.