Sound — 8
After The Burial for the most part keeps their
same progressive / technical metal sound from Rareform, but I can definitely say that there is a ton of improvement musically on their latest Sumerian Records release, In Dreams. The band has creatively found ways to expand their brutality thinking both Meshuggah-esque riffing and Sumeriancore breakdowns. After The Burial's melodies are also much more infectious on In Dreams, and guitarists Justin Lowe and Trent Hafdahl shred some gnarly solos, respectively. Right from the get-go, the album opener My Frailt shows the band hasn't lost their touch one bit, and from the striking dissonance to the crazy alternate picking, My Frailty is a superb song. In Dreams also has some slower and more melodic driven songs that seriously envelope the listener. Pendulum for example gives you quite the jumpstart, and the guitar work here fills you with a sense of good feeling, even with how brutal it is. And was that a bit of clean singing I heard? The clean singing is not unfitting at all, especially when it's progressively helping the band's musical direction. The harmonized guitars in Pendelum are very catchy, and look out for Justin Lowe and Trent Hafdahl to be one of those special guitar duos to keep tabs on. You'll lose control on Pendelum with how well it flows. The first song the band premiered off of In Dreams, Bread Crumbs And White Stones, is a tad different than what I'd expect from the band. No lie, it sounds like All That Remains with a little more technicality and Meshuggah breakdowns, which may turn off lovers of the Rareform-era a tad, but alas, Bread Crumbs And White Stones is still a great song. The following track, To Carry You Away, also sounds as if it was taken from the All That Remains - The Fall Of Ideals book. Switching it up, After The Burial can also play a damn good brand of death metal, which they demonstrate in Sleeper. The song reminds me of The Haunted with crazy progressive and technical chops. The breakdowns in Sleeper sound like any typical Sumeriancore band, which isn't a bad thing at all. I do love Sumeriancore breakdowns, and it adds that extra burst of excitement to my headbang. Sleeper is definitely my favorite song on In Dreams. After The Burial ends on a groovy and 2-steppin' note with Encased In Ice. I wish they would've ended the album with more authority, especially after hearing 7 excellent songs earlier on In Dreams. The band surely knows their Meshuggah well, and the last minute sounds like they took a page out of the Catch 33 book. The kids are going to love Encased In Ice, but us metalheads may scratch our heads
Lyrics — 7
New vocalist Anthony Notarmaso has surely stepped his game up on In Dreams, and his sincerity surely gets the listener involved. He does sound quite a bit like Phil Labonte I must say, but that isn't a bad thing, because we're getting the screaming side of Labonte, not the bad clean singing side of Labonte. Though a new member, Notarmaso [Anthony] has actually been on the road with After The Burial for a while now, so obviously the chemistry was working, and the band took him on full time, including now in the studio. Lyrically, Notarmaso's topics range throughout In Dreams, and do share an anthem-like feel towards real life situations.
Overall Impression — 8
With After The Burial being one of the more creative and progressive-minded bands of today, anticipation is always going to arise. My first impression of In Dreams was that the band was going to be much more heavy this time around, especially after listening to the first song, My Frailty. I should have known though that this is a band with many tricks up their sleeve, as they've proven on their previous opus, Rareform. In Dreams is much more expansive, much more structured and thoughtful, and surely with both the image (the In Dreams artwork is beautiful!) and concepts of In Dreams, this is After The Burial's finest hour, and surely this is the record where everyone will know the name After The Burial.