Holy Ground, the vibrant debut EP from Baltimore/Washington, DC-based alt/post-rock quintet BURIAL WAVES, is out today and streaming on all platforms through Dark Operative. Holy Ground was recorded and engineered by J Robbins (Jawbox, Burning Airlines) and Dennis Manuel, mixed by Paul Malinowski (Shiner), mastered by Mike Nolte at Eureka Mastering, and completed with cover art by Joby Ford (The Bronx).
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 interconnection 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. Collectively, the band is its own sonic entity, but you can certainly hear not only the members’ individual pedigrees, but the history of their hometown in their collective output.
BURIAL WAVES’ Ross Hurt reveals, “The title Holy Ground is about reflecting on things we hold or used to hold as sacred. In this context, holy ground is where we keep everything from the past in a positive or negative light… Not something strictly defined as a spiritual place or literal mass of land. Musically, a lot of the original arrangements came from a place of frustration or an attempt to salvage old ideas but evolved into something uniquely ours when Kyle started introducing some of these themes. Vocally it explores life’s challenges, crises, and subsequent realizations. You can definitely hear it as an amalgamation of each of our other bands if you want; but as a standalone effort and exercise, it’s something that really only took shape through keeping very little and abandoning a lot of our previous musical tendencies. We’ve been friends for a long time. We’ve always enjoyed each other’s music with other bands, so we were beyond thrilled to do something collectively. The goal was always to do something fun but through different writing approaches, and I think this release captured just that.”
BURIAL WAVES’ Holy Ground is available now through Dark Operative, streaming and available through all digital providers including Bandcamp HERE, Apple Music HERE, and Spotify HERE.
Watch for additional videos and more to be released shortly.
Following their recent show supporting Quicksand, BURIAL WAVES will also open for Fucked Up in Washington, DC on January 24th, with additional live announcements to be posted in the months ahead.
BURIAL WAVES Live:
1/24/2022 Union Stage – Washington, DC w/ Fucked Up, Empath [tickets]
“Jarring, occasionally disjointed, and cathartic… sounds like a cross between Caspian’s post-rock beauty and The Jesus Lizard’s thunderous post-hardcore, and Kyle’s soaring voice suits it perfectly.” – BrooklynVegan
“…merges the atmospheric density of Hum with the punk immediacy of Fugazi.” – Treble
“It’s only the first BURIAL WAVES record, and hopefully it won’t be the last, but even if it proves to only be a pandemic project, it’s a hell of a mark to leave. It’s a record that feels genuinely new in a genre that too often defaults to reliance on nostalgia for its power. But what else can be expected from such veterans of the craft?” – The Alternative