A ton of great debuts come out every year from across all subgenres of metal to the point where compiling a list of the best debuts every year can be a pretty perilous task. Last year I ended up putting together my end-of-the-year debuts list way too late and had a ton of albums to go back through to debate the merits of with myself. This year I decided to keep a running list of albums that I think could have real staying power at the top of the inaugural outings list should we all survive 2023. The main reason for that is that, three weeks into the year, I’m already pretty sure that Re-Buried’s Repulsive Nature is going to be a debut that people are going to struggle to top this year.
Hailing from Seattle, Re-Buried is about as meat-and-potatoes death metal as they come. Repulsive Nature is a no-frills, no-prisoners-taken affair that barely needs more than a half-hour to pummel you into submission. The album is a refinement of what fans heard on the 2020 demo, as well as on the split with Deconsecration from 2021. Fans who loved those releases and who have been eagerly awaiting the first full-length offering from the Pacific Northwest death dealers are going to really dig what they hear on this record.
Across ten bruising tracks, Re-Buried don’t rewrite the death metal playbook on Repulsive Nature but they do show just how deep into that playbook they feel comfortable diving. The album’s opener, “From Beneath,” kicks things off with an Incantation-style number that builds off its cavern-esque riffs and pushes into the more atmospheric side of death metal. A big part of what makes those deep canyons of death, as well as the speedier numbers that come later, work is the stalwart, steady hand of Alex Bytnar banging the skins. Bytnar’s drumming is stellar throughout the record and both propels the songs forward as well as spaces them out when needed to create that big, atmospheric sound on the doomier tracks. Clayton Wolff’s bass playing mixes well with Bytnar’s style behind the kit and they find some really deep grooves throughout the record.
Lest you should get too comfortable in that doomy side of death metal, the band shifts tempos on track three, “Planetary Obliteration,” and even gives you a bit of a slam beatdown that is going to really get the bodies moving in a live setting. “Infinite Suffering,” the album’s fourth song, brings in those OSDM approved, big-ass chugging riffs, courtesy of the twin guitar attack of Eddie Bingaman and Paul Richards. Seriously, good luck getting some of these riffs out of your head without lobotomizing yourself. Bingaman and Richards have set a high bar for future recordings with the variety of riffs that are both memorable and varied here. Too many death metal releases, particularly early ones in a band’s career, tend to have somewhat repetitive riffs that all eventually start to sound the same. That’s not the case here as Bingaman and Richards have crafted ones that draw inspiration from a variety of different sources across the metal spectrum.
Re-Buried isn’t afraid to speed things up either and there’s a nice, thrash-inspired feel to tracks like “Hypocrisy Incarnate” and “Smoldering Remnants” that showcase the versatility of the band’s songwriting. That the band is able to switch between different facets of death metal as effectively as they do is a real testament to the vocal performance put in by main screamer Chris Pinto. Pinto puts on a Hell of a vocal show here with his massive, blender-full-of-bones growling style and it fits together like a perfectly sewn-up corpse with the rest of the compositions. Tying it all together is the fantastic production by engineer extraordinaire Billy Anderson, whose mix keeps everything crisp and clear without feeling overdone or too polished.
Clocking in at just north of a half-hour, Repulsive Nature doesn’t waste your time. These guys know how to write compositions that get to the heart of what makes a great death metal song without feeling the need to throw in a bunch of bells and whistles to try and make the tracks feel more epic or unique than is necessary or natural. Re-Buried seems to know what the strength of each song is and plays to that without dicking around for the sake of dicking around. Sometimes all you really need is to be pummeled with a great riff for three minutes while a dude screams at you about the stench of death. If that appeals to you, dig yourself up so you can get Re-Buried again and again.
Final verdict: 4/5
Photo at top: Repulsive Nature album cover.