Bury Your Dead - It's Nothing Personal
Record Label: Victory Records
Release Date: May 26, 2009
Any music aficionado will tell you that those "For fans of..." stickers that often adorn CD packaging are a joke. Although usually wildly inaccurate when it comes to representing the music, it's interesting to see what kind of crowd the label's sales department is trying to apparel to. For Bury Your Dead's It's Nothing Personal, Victory Records declares that the album is for fans of Disturbed, Hatebreed, Slipknot and Lamb of God. Nevermind the stigma that may come with an association with the other acts, but I found the fact that Disturbed was listed as the first similar artist to be rather interesting. Although I would have laughed at the comparison a few years ago, it's sadly not far from the truth these days. Disturbed, while still a commercial success, are mostly associated with their nu metal success which peaked some eight years ago. Similarly, Bury Your Dead were once a good metallic hardcore band who have since fishtailed into a joke among former fans with a dulling of sound and integrity aided by a change in vocalists.
It's Nothing Personal is the second album with Myke Terry fronting the band. He made his debut on the group's 2008 self-titled release. Musically it wasn't too far off from the direction the band was previously headed, but the vocals were noticeably weaker than former singer Mat Bruso, despite often trying to imitate him.
For It's Nothing Personal, everything has gone further downhill. The vocals are a mixed bag; Terry attempts several different styles with varying results. The most notable change is the abundance of clean vocals, something which he only hinted at on the last album. The singing isn't bad per say, but it's often awkward and abrupt in the album's heavier offerings. The lyrics are so cringe-worthy you have to wonder if Terry stole a notebook from a "misunderstood" high school freshman. Among the album's most laughable lines are: "Back against a wall / I'm an animal trapped in hell / This is real pain / These are real tears / This is the world falling on me" from "Broken Body," and the repeated, teen angst-laden yelling of "I hate you all!" at the end of "The Great Demonizer."
As with the vocals, the songs themselves are all over the place with half-baked instrumentation. The band was certainly never known for complex riffs, but the guitar work found on It's Nothing Personal sounds like it was stolen from the nu metal playbook. Of course, there are also uninspired breakdowns in an attempt to appease the mosh kids. There are a few heavy songs that are reminiscent of the band's glory days, but it never lasts too long. "Closed Eyes" is an awful industrial ballad that comes at the end of the album before the appropriately titled "Enough" provides a piano outro.
Although the band still has its two founding members - guitarist Brendan MacDonald and drummer Mark Castillo - fifteen member changes over five years has left their sound nearly unrecognizable from what it began as. Some will call it progression while others will say the band has sold out. Frankly, I don't care about the reason, because the fact remains that the new sound isn't appealing to me at all. As a former fan, it's a shame to see.
I could try to be witty in insulting the band by using the album title in a clever pun or saying that the cover art shows all of their remaining fans, but instead I'll allow Terry's lyrics, which begin the song "Without You," to speak for me: "Turn your head and run / This is the worst it's ever been."