Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Scourged Flesh - Bury the Lies (2007)
Originally posted on Firestream.net, October 2007.
I received 015 of 100. I must say, this is a change from their previous CD. While "Released From Damnation" was unapologetically evangelical in the lyrical approach, this is MUCH darker by comparison. Musically, the band still maintains the mid-paced thrashy death sound from the previous album, though I would say this release sounds more natural & the songs work better on the whole. I think this EP sounds more like it was recorded all in one session & mixed by the same person all the way through, where as RFD had more of a "Primitive Rhythm Machine" vibe that sounded like the album was recorded over several sessions with less regard for instrumental sound continuity.
Lyrically, the band makes no mention of God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit like the previous release, which I find interesting. Instead, the lyrics are much more personally focused. For example, "Washed In Blood" seems to infer that because we're washed in Christ's blood, no one on earth can take that away, and Satan can't touch us. We become our own worst enemy because of the mistakes we make & the sins we still commit after salvation that show the world that we're still human. "Burnt Alive" sounds as though it's written from the perspective of a soul in Hell. "Judgement Returns" (from what I can gather from the lyrics) seems to be a song about the Crucifixion. "Ashes To Hell" has that "turn or burn" feel to it, though much less obvious than early Christian metal. It implies that we are all destined for Hell (the wages of sin is death, after all), and comes from the perspective that we can do something about that (though it never offers a solution), and if we don't we end up in Hell. "Death Is Silent" might spark *minor* controversy over use of the word "crap" in the song ("You believe the crap that it's just a body in the ground") but taken in context it's a strong way of saying "there's more to death than a corpse". It feels as if the band made a concerted effort to go away from the evangelical lyrics - I'm not sure if they see "Bury the Lies" as a concept piece or not, but it definitely works that way from a "Hell is real, here's my perspective" vantage point. I think in the future if the band can find a balance between the "so evangelical it hurts" lyrics & the darker, more obtuse lyrics found here, they will have a winning combo.
One thing I have to say is that the packaging on this is excellent. Troy Dunmire's work here is better than on RFD - a nice, stark black & white picture with the basic SF logo & a nice red & silver title at the bottom. It reeks of old-school underground metal, & that's basically what this is. I like that the cover speaks that & makes no apologies for it. Inside, we have a full-color layout w/ black backgrounds, shiny silver lyrics, red titles in a gothic font, and CG flames at the bottom of each page of lyrics. the full-page photos of the band live (which each member graciously signed for my copy, thanks!) are nice, and the various other photos in this booklet are an improvement over RFD's more basic layout. I also like the inlay artwork better than RFD's - I think it's fitting for the project. Also, if the subtlety in the lyrics didn't clue people in that this is a Christian band, the Hebrews 9:27 reference on the tombstone picture on the inlay should do the trick. It's a nice way to not beat people over the head like RFD did.
All in all, I think this is a winning package. While I think the lyrics are a tad to ambiguous in spots for their own good, the music is solid, the production is consistent, and the packaging is outstanding for an indie release, especially one as limited as this. I'm a happy camper that I ordered this when I did - I certainly would have regretted it down the line had I seen the quality of this product years after its release w/ no way to get a copy.
Some months after the original review was written, the band had sold out of the EP & demand was still there, so they issued a 2nd pressing through Soundmass to meet the demand. The 2nd pressing is not numbered, and is branded with Soundmass logos & such. I am looking for a copy of the Soundmass release as well (yes, I'm a collector bordering on addiction). As such, this release may still be available via the Soundmass webstore.