Holy Ground - Digital image
Holy Ground - Digital image

Holy Ground - Digital



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The DC/Baltimore area has a history of musicians reevaluating the violent nature of hardcore and replacing its primal aggression with a broader sonic range and a more compassionate consciousness. This didn’t diminish the urgency or physicality of the music… if anything, the bands opting out of the brutish impulses of their youth were even more powerful in their newfound delivery. Many of these bands are synonymous with the Salad Days era’s blend of heft and heart, but outsiders are often surprised to learn that the scene isn’t exactly a mecca for the underground’s lifers. DC in particular is extremely transient—a metropolitan area with a high turnover as young people move in and out of town with every new election cycle. But just as the city’s halcyon days of the ‘80s punk scene saw a variety of projects sprout up from the same pool of musicians, there is a current contingent of permanent residents who continue that lineage of interconnectedness in their mission to create exhilarating, introspective, and forward-thinking rock.
In that sense, Burial Waves is a quintessential DC/Baltimore band. With the dissolution of their expansive post-rock outfit Black Clouds, guitarist Ross Hurt and drummer Jimmy Rhodes immediately reached out to their old friend Kyle Durfey of post-hardcore luminaries Pianos Become the Teeth about working on a new project. Hurt’s former bandmate Kevin Hilliard from prog-punk trio Caverns was brought on board to cover bass duties and Matthew Dowling of math rock ensemble The EFFECTS joined in on second guitar. “Everyone seemed to not just be on the same page, but started completing each other's metaphorical sentences,” Hurt says. “We've all been playing together or sharing the stage together for years, so there is a great sense of familiarity with everything we're doing.”
Burial Waves are their own sonic entity, but you can certainly hear not only their individual pedigrees, but the history of their hometown in their collective output. Their initial foray into the public sphere began in early 2020 with a video of their live multi-media performance of “Cinema Shame.” The song starts with a steady, driving guitar line supplemented by a syncopated drum pattern. A grimy bass line and ethereal guitar round out the instrumentation, giving the song a heavily anchored rhythm section and helium-grade atmospherics. Durfey completes the picture with his impassioned vignette of a couple watching the history of their relationship unfold as distanced spectators. “Cinema Shame” is an apt introduction to Burial Waves’ sound—an amalgam of amp-worshipping heaviness and synesthesia-inducing space rock with a slight edge of cathartic recklessness.