Australian five-piece, Statues, explore a new direction on their second full-length, offering a thicker, atmospheric sound. After a line-up change that added Alex Shom on vocals and Matt Unkovich on drums, Statues have been working on a concept album, ‘No Grave, No Burial’.
Set in the heart of a civil war, the central character must find safety by leaving home. They fight to find freedom, only to be left with further persecution and the bleakness of reality. The premise is deep, dark and reflected in the sound. The second track, ‘Sirens’, talks of “people in the streets crawling out” as “they crawl away from death”. With its mix of fast pounding basslines, throaty screamed vocals and chordal guitar riffs, it creates a dense, chaotic sound that sets up the overall tone of the album.
The titular track is a turning point for the character. Its vocal hook can be understood in a literal sense as the character is on the battlefield of dead bodies; none of which received any sort of funeral. The speaker has to leave their companion behind while “fighting back the tears” as his friend lies lifeless on the ground. Vocally, Shom shines as the emotion in his voice is palpable with an almost spoken quality. When combined with soaring guitars, there is a sense of vulnerability not previously heard on the album.
Final track ‘Sanctuary’ rounds things off by bearing reference to the first half of the album. It is heavy, driving and raw. The padding guitars of earlier tracks replaced with frantic movement; referencing souls that were “lost and never found”. The speaker feels defeated after a fruitless search for sanctuary leaves them with nothing.
Statues have cultivated a unique, cohesive and emotional musical journey with ‘No Grave, No Burial’. Each track has the capacity to stand alone and collectively doesn’t fall into clichés found within progressive hardcore. Their ability to maintain variety is the driving force behind the narrative.
‘No Grave, No Burial’ by Statues is out now.
Words by Zoe Walton.