Never Buried – “Never Buried” (demo)


never buriedI love getting demos from new bands, or at least bands that are new to me, that are well done in terms of production and sound.  Especially the ones where the music is also good and you start wondering if the band will ever get the attention or exposure they need and deserve.  I had heard one song from Never Buried in the past and when I saw demos were available, I wanted to check it out.  I honestly don’t remember the song I had heard before, but I do remember my first thought that these guys sound a whole lot better than what I normally hear on Sirius XM Octane.  For those who know satellite radio, that should clue you in as to the sound of Never Buried.  Octane typically plays hard rock and what I would call “mainstream metal” for lack of a better term.  Basically, it’s metal that tends to be melodic with mostly clean vocals and has a broader appeal, because, let’s face it black/death metal scares some people….a lot.

Never Buried was formed in 2007 in McAllen, Texas and was founded by vocalist Chris Castro and guitarist Jeff Jones.  As is the case with many bands there were several lineup changes before establishing the current 5-piece lineup of Jeff Jones, Aaron Mancha, Aaron Garcia, and Ram De La Cruz.  Currently independent (left Rottweiler Records on amicable terms), Never Buried is buying some time while one band member heals from knee surgery and is writing new material and setting up a small tour around Texas (although anything involving Texas isn’t small).

Hammering guitar opens up “Punch”, the first song on the demo and in general, this song serves as a good introduction to the sound of Never Buried.  From the opening through most of the verses, the band makes good use of alternating between sound and silence in the drums and guitar both providing some good punch.  I’m not a huge fan of the guitar tone, but this may just be a production/recording issue and again, this is a demo, so that I can let that go.  The biggest thing I noticed was the strength of the vocals from Chris Castro.  This style of metal absolutely requires strong vocals and he pulls that off, effortlessly, from shouting to melodic, soaring singing in the chorus sections, to screaming.  To get an idea, think Corey Taylor of Slipknot.  Musically, I also find similarities in “Push” with Slipknot’s “Before I Forget”,  and there are similarities in other songs to Slipknot, mostly in terms of song style and structure.

“Memory” starts out calm enough but then erupts into a hammering riff somewhat similar to that in “Push” except this time the verses are sung with a more melodic style, accented with shouting.  Throughout much of the verse sections the drumming of Aaron Mancha carries things along with some good runs .  Close to the midpoint of the song, it turns much heavier with a driving riff and some screaming vocals “I will not die” that leads straight into a guitar solo.  While not overly technical and maybe lacking a “wow” factor, the guitar solos on the demo fit well within the songs and have a good feel to them.

Similarly to “Memory”, “The Illusionist” starts out quietly and even features some hoarse, whispered vocals before the loud guitars come in briefly.  The song then shifts back to the quiet mode for the verses before kicking back into a louder chorus section and then maintaining the heavy sound throughout the rest of the song.  This song showcases the range of Chris Castro’s vocals as well as his ability to shift cleanly between singing and screaming.  There are several different sections to “The Illusionist”, from the quiet to the loud, and the parts all fit together very well.

With “Devil May Care”, Never Buried shift back into a style reminiscent of Slipknot, this time with a song that may be closer to “Sulfur” or “Wait and Bleed” in terms of speed and intensity.  To me the guitars in this song seem a bit fuzzier and different than on the rest of the demo and the sound almost seems as if it was overwhelming the system, but again, we are talking about a demo here, so some leeway is deserved.  Taking a look at some of their bio information, the band lists Slipknot, Mudvayne, and Stone Sour among influences and you can hear those all come through.  That is the style of metal they fall into, so it all makes sense.

The demo ends on a much more peaceful note with “Listen”.  Opening with some acoustic guitar and strings, gruff, sung vocals come in over top of the acoustic guitar and take a prominent role in the song, accented nicely by the strings.  In general, the combination makes for a powerful combination.

So, metal purists may scoff at Never Buried as their sound doesn’t fit certain specific genre definitions and may be labeled “too mainstream”, but there is a lot to like here and the overall sound on the demo certainly sets expectations high for a full-length release.  Driving guitar and drums, strong vocals and well –structured songs that vary in intensity and style and still manage to be heavy are what you can expect with Never Buried.  Now, let’s hope they get a chance to record a full-length album…

Rating: 7/10

1. Push
2. Memory
3. The Illusionist
4. Devil May Care
5. Listen

Band Members:
Chris Castro – Lead vocals
Jeff Jones – Lead Guitar
Ram de La Cruz – Rhythm Guitar
Aaron Garcia – Bass/samples
Aaron Mancha – Drums

Record Label: Independent, Aug. 2013

Weblinks: Facebook

Buy the album here:
Holland: First Paradox
Norway: Nordic Mission
USA: Metal Helm

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