No Grave, No Burial
10th November 2017 – Self-release
04. Onwards To The Sun
06. No Grave, No Burial
When guitarist Scott Kay is not progging around with Voyager, he blows off a not inconsiderable amount of steam with Statues. Their debut album, Together We’re Alone, was released (or maybe unleashed) in early 2015 and established the band at the chaotic end of the hardcore spectrum, along with the likes of The Dillinger Escape Plan and The Arusha Accord. Since then, a switch of vocalist and a bit of a change in direction have resulted in second album No Grave, No Burial.
For No Grave, No Burial, Statues have reigned in the chaos and developed a more focused, riffy sound with fewer notes and more space. It’s a comparable shift to the one undertaken by Vision of Disorder for their From Bliss to Devastation album – and, equally similarly, for those expecting a second melee attack might feel a fleeting sense of disappointment with this more streamlined sound on their first listen through. But stick with it.
There is still a residual Dillinger influence evident, it’s just more in the vein of “Crossburner” rather than “Panasonic Youth“. And Matthew Templeman’s bright, Arusha-esque bass tone remains intact, leading the charge into opening track “Collapse” and is a distinctive feature throughout the album. Setting the tone for much of what follow , “Collapse” sits somewhere between Refused and Poison The Well, and sees new vocalist Alex Shom screaming bloody murder over a particularly satisfying stop-start riff.
Alex’s screams have been given a focal point by the slightly unusual decision – for hardcore bands, at least – to build the lyrics of No Grave, No Burial around a single unifying concept. The album tells a fictional story of an individual caught up in an unspecified civil war. This is a particularly neat trick, as the story is necessarily instilled with anger, fear, frustration and despair, making it a more potent emotional vehicle than omni-directional Weltschmerz or existential teenage angst. It’s also probably a wise move to have left the story ambiguous on any specific conflict, to avoid any unwanted distractions into the politics of it’s circumstances. Instead, it becomes a broader exploration of the feelings and emotions of conflict.
At just thirty minutes long, No Grave, No Burial doesn’t hang about. Of the nine tracks on offer, “Sirens” and “Unrest“, which are full of jagged and skittish staccato riffing, track closest to the older material. “Defiance” packs a bludgeoning punch with it’s devastating final quiet/loud breakdown, and “Onwards To The Sun” carries particularly strong Versions-era Poison The Well vibes.
Perhaps the most powerful tracks on No Grave, No Burial are its title track and “Dirge“. Both are slower, dynamic tracks that convey anguish rather than flat-out anger, and are all the more potent for it, the latter being almost wistful in places and given an extra emotional bump through the sparing use of clean vocals with the mantra “replaying over and over…”
All in, No Grave, No Burial is a pleasant and thoughtful surprise, and its concept adds depth to the weight of the direction Statues have taken. There’s certainly plenty here for British fans of Employed To Serve (and the broader Holy Roar family of bands) to enjoy, and we’d love to see them on tour together if Statues can make the long trip over. We’re pretty damn sure it would be worth it.