Death in June - _Burial_
(Tesco, 2006)
by: Nikola Shahpazov (6 out of 10)
This is a re-release of an album that marks the very beginning of what would prove to be an enormous Death in June discography. _Burial_ is actually the second effort of the band, the last featuring Tony Wakeford before his initial departure. By 1984, angry punksters Crisis had miraculously transformed into Death in June -- gone were the leftist ideas and in came black uniforms adorned by the totenkopf. Still, the band didn't really sound like Nazi drummerboys at a Nurnberg rally. _Burial_ is a weird record that bears a notable punk feel, clearly signifying what the band members practiced some years before.

The actual studio tracks are but five, the rest of the album consisting of live recordings. Opener "Death of the West" still serves as one of the neofolk evergreens: a simple but emotional anti-capitalist anthem composed in classic Death in June fashion, concentrating on strumming acoustic guitar and vocals exclusively. "Fields", "Nirvana" and "Black Radio" all possess a definite '80s sound, meaning they're unmistakably post-punk and have strong new wave leanings. "Sons of Europe" delivers more pathos: martial drumming, trumpets blowing and atonal singing -- it is probably the strangest track of the album.

The live section, recorded somewhere in London in late 1983, is predictably psychedelic and somewhat chaotic. Even more than the studio material, the live recordings deliver a mix of proto-industrial, psychedelic rock and punk-influenced wave sound that is impenetrably esoteric and avant-garde.

_Burial_ is an honest, adventurous release and most definitely of cult status by now, but at times it feels directionless and much too obscure to be enjoyed to the fullest.


(article published 12/12/2006)

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