March 9, 2010 | | 3.5

Walking With Strangers, Buried, Dead and...

Walking With Strangers: Buried, Dead and Done

I was almost to the point where I was ready to write off listening to metalcore anymore, but then this disc by five dudes from Sweden showed up in the mail — and well, I’m not so sure I’m totally done with the genre. Walking With Strangers debut EP, Buried, Dead and Done definitely contains your traditional metalcore trappings. There’s the requisite mid-range growls shifting to a more cleanly delivered shouts then shifting back to deeper, more guttural growls. There’s also the Swedish death metal influence in the guitar tones as the band jumps from burly riffs to melodic bursts of activity.

But, there’s also something more here. I can’t put my finger on it, but these guys have gone beyond your run-of-the-mill metalcore with this release. Perhaps it’s the meaty breakdowns or the gang vocals that show up from time to time. Perhaps it’s the band’s delving into technical death metal or the thick grooves that also make an appearance throughout the disc. Either way, Buried, Dead and Done is an impressive, diverse debut within a genre that’s long been stagnate — I can’t wait to hear more from these guys in the future.

The appropriately title “Intro,” is just that — a brief track with some crushingly massive riffs and a couple of guttural belches for good measure.

The Provider
The first real song on the EP starts off with a big sound as beefy, stuttering riffs accompany thundering drums and thick bass. The overall feel of this one is definitely that of metalcore that features meaty, moshing guitars and a touch of chugging death metal. The gang vocals are a nice touch as is the melodic guitar work that’s found through the entire track. The vocal destruction around the three minute mark is pretty damned brutal and is quickly followed by a decent helping of mosh.

Buried, Dead & Done
The title track starts off nicely with cleaver melodic riffs and steady drum blasts as the vocals come in. There’s a bit more of a technical edge to this song that’s tempered nicely with some excellent melodic passages (melodic, yes, sappy, no). There is a range of highs and lows throughout the song that gives it great depth and powerful sound. This is an outstanding song.

“Lost” is a tremendous example of a song that balances softer, emotive and melodic passages with utterly crushing and menacing breakdowns. It contains such a varied spectrum of musical flavors yet never seems disjointed, flowing smoothly with a steady groove to its final few notes. The production for this EP also really shines through on this song.

The final song on this short, but impressive disc contains some thundering rhythms and head banging groove. There are some slick technical (yet melancholy tinged) flourishes from the guitars peppering the song as the rest of the guys lay down some burly mosh, as seen around the one minute mark. This is a great song to end one of those discs that keeps me from outright abandoning a style of music that I had become bored with. Metalcore owes Walking With Strangers a huge thank you.

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