Connect with After the Burial
This review is in reference to the reissued, black and green version of the album. For those who do not know the difference, this version is the first to feature then-new and still-current vocalist, Anthony Notarmaso. His inclusion was a pretty big step forward for the band, as the previous vocalist was fairly lousy in my opinion. Listening to both versions, it is pretty clear that Anthony’s voice is just stronger, deeper, and harsher. It’s still typical metalcore fair, but it works better.
I promise that this will not be a track-by-track review, but attention must first be paid to the opener, “Berserker.” Perfect introduction to the record. The cut-throat pace along with the various transitions between highly differentiated riffs makes this track a pleasure from start to finish. You have the harmonious, melodic leads, intense vocal delivery, and that weird, bouncy, bassy “breakdown?” I’m not sure what to call that part, but I dig it.
ATB are just at home with various clean effects as distortion. For example, “Cursing Akhenaten” features a righteous Egyption/eastern-sounding riff as both an intro and continuing theme to contrast with the crunchier low-end. The title track is also notable in this area for the sweeping melodies traveling up and down the fretboard throughout. But perhaps the best example is “Aspiration.” The intro is spacey and filled with emotion that needs no words to express. Oftentimes these clean moments are played simultaneously with the heavier riffs for increased contrast and emphasis.
Breakdowns are rarely just breakdowns either. Rather than a simple palm-muted 0-1-0101-0-1 method, ATB utilize all sorts of infused melodies and odd time signatures to keep these moments interesting and brief. “Aspirations” again comes to mind with the various chord changes and jazz-soloing that accompany the Meshuggah-esque chugging of the last few minutes.
Though I honestly keep all 8 songs of this brief (36 minute) album on me at all times, my favorite would have to go to “Ometh.” It starts off similarly to other tracks with some cool riffage and a discordant breakdown reminiscent of early Norma Jean. But at right about 1:10, this riff kicks in that just defies description. It is concurrently uplifting, crushing, and reckless. It’s super-melodic and I challenge anyone to listen to that part without showing some sort of bodily reaction. The second time around it evolves into an epic outro solo that is just a joyful metal catharsis. I wish I could explain it better, but you’ll just have to listen for yourself.
All in all, I love this record. I don’t regard it as highly as a lot of the extreme metal I listen to, but this is definitely high ranking regarding other metalcore and (shudder) djent out there. ATB have a lockdown on melody that makes their musicianship far more memorable than many other technical acts. The biggest draw will be for guitar fans, but the drums and vocals do their share of pull as well in making this an excellent listen.