ESA interview + Album review for 'Burial 10'

I've been unsure of how to review this newest Electronic Substance Abuse album without simply gushing about it. Since it's release last week, I must have listened to it a good two dozen times, that's before I've sat down to write this and listen to it a dozen more for the review. I feel I've come to know Jamie Blacker fairly well as he's asked me to not just throw my usual praise at an album but to be truthful and critical of it; Something I've so far struggled to do conscience wise as I usually become good friends with the artists I write about. Yet his words on a facebook update on release date resonated deeply with me.. "Anyone who receives praise for their work and 100% believes the genuinity of that praise, probably should hang up the headphones."

So I will give this review my best attention yet because although I love this album, I wan't to get across a whole lot more than simple praise. Let's start this one a little different by playing the Bandcamp plug in below. Have a listen whilst you read the interview but then play each track as you read about them in the review; Especially track 5,'I Remember.'


Q. From the moment I opened up the Burial 10 CD case with it’s symbolic artwork, to the opening lyrics..

“What do you see when you look at me?”

..Through to the lyrical themes of the tracks throughout, I realised very clearly that this is an album that is very personal and filled with an array of emotion from you. So I will lay this question out in three parts. What is the story of the ‘Burial 10’ album and how does it relate to..

1. The artwork of the album as well as the line ‘I believe that the truest parts of people can be buried and for so many different reasons.’ that is printed on the ‘Burial 10’ clothing merchandise? 2. The ‘Burial 10’ music video?

3. The lyrical content that seems to follow a concept?

A: Think I can answer this question in one response.

This is definitely a very personal album. As I’ve gone along releases, I’ve allowed myself to connect more personally with subject matter, rather than creating some sort of disconnected fantasy theme that feels right for the ‘music’.

The main focus of the album is based around self sabotage. Something that I’m aware of as a personal behaviour pattern. I’m sure that the majority of people have experienced this also.

The artwork imagery concentrates on nooses and burial. These are pretty primal visual metaphors for destroying yourself. That’s why I decided to be the one holding the spade in some of that imagery.

The tracks themselves do touch on other subjects connected to this such as depression and also the ‘burial’ of those demons. I wouldn’t say it’s an album with a ‘happy ending’ but it certainly isn’t all negative.

The opening lyric you quoted is from ‘Relapse’ which is about exactly what you’d expect. A relapse of behaviour. It directly links to others expectations of you and the pressure of that. The ‘Relapse’ is the giving up of trying to bury those behaviours and giving in.

‘Head is heaviest that wears the crown’ is also about that (or at least my section of the lyrics is). It’s about having to behave a certain way due to pressure and expectation. Something I have felt, not only from others but my own personal pressure to prove something and be the absolute best at what I do.

The quote that you mentioned is something that fits in line with the last 4 albums that have been released. I always connect a quote to the subject matter. The message in this one felt ‘right’ for this album.

Q. There is a lot of singing on this album from yourself which in previous albums has been a real rarity. What brought about this shift in musical style, and how did you come about having Jo Hysteria, Caitlin Corlyx, and Lecture feature on the album?

A: I think honestly it came through working with iVardensphere so much. ESA has developed from being a purely rythmical noise project to something with a lo