subj3ctt0chang3, on july 24, 2008 2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Sound: The self proclaimed Twin Cities Breakdown Architects are at it again with the release of Rareform. But don't let the tagline fool you, these guys write melodies and solos like you read about. This album has some true gems that will blow you away. "Cursing Akhenaten" is the song which I truly believe should have been the intro to the album, but I can let that go. This song starts off with an haunting egyptian melody, then bursts into a doom and gloom breakdown, which is perfect for that kid you see jumping up and down before a mosh pit begins. This song has more breakdowns than you can shake a stick at. My next favorite is "Aspiration." It starts with an intro reminiscent of "Fingers Like Daggers" from "Forging a Future Self." But don't expect this to be "Fingers Like Daggers Part II." The main riff is lighter than most of their others, but it doesn't lost it's heavy aspect. The breakdown at 2:30 is one that is sure to break your neck. The only problem I have with this song is the solo, it's good until the ending where it leaves you wanting more that just the ring outs. "Berzerker" has melodies galore and a real head bobber of a breakdown.
At first "The Fractal Effect" seemed way out of left feild, but you have to hold on for this one because it is a real rollercoaster of a song, especially the riff at 2:50. it's sort of a random/stupid/mind-boggling riff, but it's still amazing. I first heard this when I was driving through Downtown Chicago and it gave me a real WTF moment. "Ometh" is my favorite song solo-wise. And last but certainly not least is "A Vicious Reforming of Features." I know people are going to hate me for saying this, but if you like Meshuggah, then this is could be the song that get you into After the Burial, and the ending solo is reminiscent of a young Jason Becker (hate me for that one too). The only thing I really have a problem with sound wise is the low end on the guitars and the drums. The drums should have been recorded, instead of just a drum machine or triggers like it sounds. Everything about the drums just seems dull and faded into the background. The Snare is far too dull. I'm saying all of this and I'm a guitarist. // 9
Lyrics: I must admit, at first I found the singer's voice boring. But he really does have range. I simply think he could have used it better. Maybe it was the producer that held him back or maybe he just wasn't opening up on this record. But still, the vocals went very well with the each song, esp "Cursing Akhenaten." // 7
Overall Impression: I truly love this album. It lets you know that technicality can mix with emotion in music (See Aspiration). The only thing I have against this album is the tone. I have a feeling that this is because of the record label (Sumerian Records). Don't get me wrong. It's a great label with great artists. But it seems like the used the same producer and engineer on this record as they did with The New Reign by Born of Osiris. Great artists that would sound incredible with a change in tone. Great guitar record. // 9
Magero, on february 19, 2009 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: I was first linked to After The Burial a few years ago. At the time, I was in a very indifferent mood towards all things core, basically hating them for existing no-matter the actual merit of the band. I therefore hated the idea that these core kids were playing 8-string guitars, as I saw it as another gimmick. About 6 months ago, I actually went and listened to After the Burial and all my preconceptions vanished. After the Burial play a technical and almost progressive form of metal, their 8-string guitars actually being used for sonic diversity, not just added chug. One thing is for certain and that's that these guys can riff. Every song on this album contains some absolutely top notch riffs and the breakdowns are simply crushing. The intro to "Berzerker" is a prime example of what this band is all about. Technical shredding, still done tastefully, while retaining heaviness and groove. The odd time signature changes don't even feel forced and the off time Meshuggah-usque groove never feels like it was done simply to show off. // 8
Lyrics: The vocals are probably the weakest part of this band. While they aren't bad, they're too dry in a lot of sections. He has his moments, the ending breakdown to "Berzerker" comes to mind and most of "Aspiration", but overall the vocals sound too claustrophobic and cramped. As much as I'm loath to recommend it, more reverb in the studio would probably help. // 6
Overall Impression: This is a huge step up from After the Burial's previous effort, "Forging a Future Self". The production is tighter, the riffs are stronger and the music itself has benefited from the extra time spent in the industry. After The Burial have really tried to step away from the metalcore mould that is becoming so stale in it's Autumn years and what the future holds for them will be interesting to say the least. The band's music is catchy, yet heavy. Frantic, yet melodic. Chaotic, yet constructed. Tracks like "Cursing Akenaten" and "Aspiration" really show off the band's variety of influences, from Meshuggah-usque chug patterns to melodies and harmonies that would make Muhammed Suimez sit up straight. Definitely a band to keep an eye on. // 8
unregistered, on june 22, 2009 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: When I first heard this record, I was unimpressed, appalled and more or less disappointed. I asked myself, "why would anybody ever consider listening to this?" Well, I listened to the album over and over, getting used to it, and I can seriously say this album is among the only few 'metal' CD's I can stand. The key to liking this album is having an open mind, and avoiding musical stereotypes. Their drummer is amazing, drum machine or not. Assuming you know what a poly rhythm is, this album is the mother, father, grandparents, aunt, uncle, and children of them. Please excuse my literary cheesiness. Although this album consists of plenty of breakdowns, I wouldn't even consider ranking over half of them as 'breakdowns'. In reality, they're simply interesting heavy parts. They utilize their eight string guitars by tuning to F-sharp, thus complementing the music with unique and interesting guitar tone. This album incorporates some seriously intriguing styles, such as the 'Egyptian' style of writing in 'cursing akenaten' all the way to their hardcore roots displayed in the title track 'Rareform'. I'm not sure how they did it, but they managed to merge several music cultures, keeping their own style within the mixture, and keep heavy music interesting. // 8
Lyrics: Grant in person (I've watched videos) seems like a hardcore beef head (haha). Despite his physical attributes, he is an amazing lyricist. Here's an example, taken from 'A Vicious Reforming Of Features":
"Creator as Observer
congruent systems collapsing mutating waveforms to become sight sound touch.
A sick perception is now my only link to reality sorched eternally blistering yet I prevail.
My merciless plan of creation etails seeing the unseen forge an abomination to annihilate with a cold hearted sense of compassion devastation.
Thy vicious modus operandi.
Observer as Creator
beguiling unstable electric forms.
These tools of judgment they thirst for impure.
Draining a carcass devour the contaminate and filth that roams amongst us sterilizing out human forms.
Shredding tissue fracturing bone.
Burning synapse rewiring conscious.
A brutal reforming of features a hideous cleansing of God.
Self Purification achieved when what's left behind is devoid of deformations."
The last line, is seriously genius in my view.
His lyrics always complement the music, along with his tasteful vocal placement. It's pretty hard to make it sound as good as he does. Now, most people who listen to this album get turned off immediately, due to Grants odd vocal technique. This is where your open mind comes into play. I absolutely hated this album because of him. Despite anybody's personal taste, Grant is an awesome vocalist, incorporating many vocal styles (listen to Cursing Akenaten). His vocals sound so weird, and so different, that it makes the album what it is. His low is punchy and completely 'in your face', and his high is just plain terrifying. // 9
Overall Impression: Most people compare After The Burial with Veil Of Maya. Don't get me wrong, Veil Of Maya is a great band, but very much unlike After The Burial. Although they're really unique with this new album, there's definitely a ton of Meshuggah influence, especially on their last song (A Vicious Reforming Of Features). That song happens to be the most impressive on the album, as the drummer makes other drummers look stupid. When I say he's good, I don't mean super fast or anything. I mean he's very talented when it comes to poly rhythms and just being tasteful in general. I love this album in nearly every way. I'm just fairly sick of the album, as I've listened to it way too many times. There's plenty more to say about this album, but you get the gist. // 9