Wolves Within Review

artist: After The Burial date: 12/16/2013 category: compact discs
After The Burial: Wolves Within
Released: Dec 17, 2013
Genre: Progressive Metal, Metalcore, Deathcore
Label: Sumerian Records
Number Of Tracks: 9
I always struggle with how to classify After The Burial exactly - they seem to flirt with hardcore, djent, metalcore, prog metal and all kinds of other metal sub-genres for brief forays. At the end of the day, they're a metal band and this album is worth a listen.
 Sound: 8
 Lyrics: 7
 Overall Impression: 7
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review (1) 35 comments vote for this album:
overall: 7.3
Wolves Within Featured review by: UG Team, on december 16, 2013
2 of 3 people found this review helpful

Sound: Earlier this year, After The Burial began recording a new album after releasing their "This Life Is All We Have" EP. Their new album is being released on Sumerian Records, the same as their last 3 releases, and contains 9 tracks. The album has a total runtime just a few minutes shy of 40 minutes. In early November, the first "single" was released from the album, "A Wolf Amongst Ravens," via YouTube. This was soon followed by the second "single," "Of Fearful Men." The singles, taken independently from the rest of the album, show the band continuing in the direction they have been moving only without the previously present passages with clean vocals. There is also quite a bit more in the way of traditional melodic guitar solos. The album opens up with the track "Anti-Pattern," which the band has been playing live for most of 2013. I definitely prefer for a metal album to come out of the gates really screaming and I think that is what "Anti-Pattern" does for this album. "Of Fearful Men" is the next track on the album, and this was also the second single released from the album. This is a lot of good things going on with this track, not counting just some interesting guitar work and the weird little interlude, but a powerful drum performance and a very aggressive bass. The guitar solo alone makes "Of Fearful Men" a worthwhile track. "Pennyweight" has a very unique sound to it and a really awesome bass part. Fairly simple, but very powerful. I feel like if they were going to use any clean vocals on this album, this would have been the track where they really shone. The guitar tone is so much different on this track than the rest of the album that it really stands out. "Disconnect" starts out with an acoustic guitar playing an arpeggiated riff with an electric playing a Gilmour-ish lead line over it but this grows into a sound more closely identified with After The Burial pretty quickly. When we get to the guitar solo on this track, I'm hearing the band try to channel Gilmour a little bit again, but it works in the context of their song. "Nine Summers" vocal performance from the album are parts of this track. "Virga" is suffering from some intensely annoying drumming, though this may just be my own personal opinion, this drumming sounds overtly manipulated on this track. Otherwise this would have possibly been one of my favorite tracks on the album. It definitely contained one of my favorite guitar solos. "Neo Seoul" stands out with an intro that makes use of some heavily delayed clean guitar, but when the bass and distorted guitar come in they definitely change up the mood/vibe of the song. I found myself humming a guitar passage from this song for quite a while after my first few listens. "Parise" definitely has the most "schizophrenic" sounding guitar parts, and it is definitely an engaging track because of this. They were going for some kind of ambient thing with the solo on this one, which they do pull off for the most part, and then the solo is followed up by a weird little "funk" passage. The album closes out with the track "A Wolf Amongst Ravens," which is also the first single from the album. Oddly enough, this was probably one of my least favorite tracks from the album, but it does work to close out the album. // 8

Lyrics: Anthony Notarmaso joined After The Burial in 2008 and has made himself at home since that time. Anthony has quite a vocal range, though this isn't necessarily used to the greatest effect on "Wolves Within." There were moments from "In Dreams" where I found myself fairly impressed with Anthony's performance on the album, and while I can't find any complaints on this album, I also don't see anything to brag about. The lyrics are another story, as I found a lot of them to read like the poetry of a very articulate existentialist. As a sample of the lyrics, here are some of the lyrics from their single, "A Wolf Amongst Ravens": "Where do we begin/ When everything is wrong we just forget/ Move along and we play pretend/ Surround your life with silver and gold/ Your tinsel dreams and the make believe/ Deconstructed and paralyzed/ So slowly somehow I am evaporating/ We dream to be the lesser/ A malign separate existence/ We belittle ourselves to a lesser/ Being our dreams are not our dreams/ Cogitation a distant fragment/ Separate me from the whole/ My thoughts are now unchained/ And it seems that in everything/ We want isn't anything we need/ And all the signals/ We seem to have taken for granted/ We are lost, we are polluted/ Into the grey a wolf amongst ravens." // 7

Overall Impression: I find myself still waffling a little bit about my overall feelings about the album. There are definitely things to like and some very memorable riffs and solos. The vocals weren't really grabbing me - instead of adding value to the music they just seemed to be there. I can't fault the songwriting, but feel like the vocal performance was mediocre. I was impressed with how the bass was mixed, as you can actually hear it and it is doing its job, which is something a lot of new releases seem to be missing. The drums, even if they are real, sound programmed at times - I think they are live drums tracked by Dan Carle, but then "fixed" by the studio engineer or producer. The members that play stringed instruments - basically Justin, Trent and Lee - shone on this album, but Anthony and Dan didn't really give the same level of standout performance. Dan did have some strong moments, but something about the drums just didn't sit right with me, though I couldn't say for sure what it is. My favorite songs from the album are probably "Parise," "Nine Summers," "Neo Seoul," and "Pennyweight." // 7

- Brandon East (c) 2013

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