REVIEW: Boundaries – Burying Brightness [2022]

Artist: Boundaries
Album: Burying Brightness

Growth is necessary—but growth is painful, and it sure as hell isn’t easy. But when it comes to the testaments and trials life throws at you, you either push through or get pushed over—and when it comes to Boundaries and their latest record, Burying Brightness, their choice to push through…well, anything and everything, really, is abundantly obvious. Further refining their balance and emerging as a bastion to metalcore in the modern age, this Massachusetts based act have penned what is undoubtedly their finest effort to date. Blending moments of immense, mountain-moving heaviness and more serene moments of touching, moving ethereality, Burying Brightness is an iconic release laden with aggression and emotion (well, other emotions) both. A record built around a love for the almighty breakdown but filled out with colossal riffs, tight song structure and powerful lyricism, Burying Brightness is a sleeper album-of-the-year contender in the sense that everyone knew what Boundaries had been crafting was bound to be excellent—but I don’t think that many expected to be genre-defining.
Everything about Burying Brightness is pure, unrelenting metalcore. Boundaries start from the ground-up, with immolating percussion that ignites a fire in the listener’s chest. From the moment “It Begins to Speak” begins in earnest, Boundaries’ thick kick drum punches holes in the listener’s head while a sharp share cuts through splashy cymbals. “Heaven’s Broken Heart” is another song which sees the band’s drumming at its sharpest, especially as it combines with the dense, bouncy bass. Together the two create a dialogue of sorts that sets the foundation for everything Boundaries thrust forth—whether its catastrophic, crushing cuts like “My Body is a Cage” or “Realize and Rebuild,” a more balanced example of contemporary -core. When it comes to the band’s instrumentation, however, it would be remiss not to mention their fretwork, which is nothing short of stellar, considering the mosh-heavy madness Boundaries bring to the table. Where “Realize and Rebuild” and “Burying Brightness” see an even-keel approach, balancing gritty leads and moments of jaw-dropping serenity, other songs—the aforementioned “My Body is a Cage” or “Your Own Murder”—are some of the heaviest songs metalcore has seen in some time, in great thanks to the combination of scathing riffs and skin-rending breakdowns the band expertly wield. Between these two styles, Boundaries have proven themselves masters of the “heavy/soft” dynamic—where on previous releases, there was heavy, and…well, heavier (which was also really damn good). Burying Brightness’ instrumentation is the framework for that dynamic, and the means by which Boundaries prove the biggest degree of growth and change—which also happens to be the same means by which Burying Brightness establishes itself as one of the finest records of the year.
Just because the band’s instrumental dynamism shines doesn’t mean Boundaries’ vocal element isn’t exceptional—because it is. Throughout Burying Brightness, vocals and lyrics keep the listener engaged, hooked in the story and energy of each song. Where “Your Own Murder” is a ruthless and remorselessly angry cut, the duo of “Resent and Regret” plus “Realize and Rebuild” see the band’s vocal element’s dynamism matching that of their musicianship. What’s more, the lyrics tell a complex and deeply personal tale of growth and hindsight—among other things. These songs pave the way into “My Body is a Cage,” which may just be the most intense and aggressive song the band has written to date (yes, even considering “Felicia”), which is essentially rage incarnate. By the time the listener arrives at “The Tower,” it feels as though they’ve journeyed through the collective minds and memories of Boundaries, hammering home the introspective nature of the records’ lyricism and immaculate vocal delivery.
I think I’ve made it plenty clear that Burying Brightness is an excellent record—and similarly, I believe I’ve made it pretty clear that it’s likely to end up pretty high on my year-end list. While I expected a sound record from the band (as they’ve never given us anything less), I didn’t expect something that is practically a perfect metalcore record. Boundaries have…well, once more shattered their own namesake, and while Burying Brightness is as dreary as its name might have you think, it is one of 2022’s brightest shining stars.

For Fans Of: Vatican, Varials, Degrader, Distingusher
By: Connor Welsh