After The Burial
When Swedish overlords of the technical-metal genre Meshuggah graduated to eight-string guitars, it was only a matter of time before those in their wake followed suit, regardless of whether they had the chops for such a beast of an instrument. Gratifyingly, Justin Lowe and Trent Hafdahl of Minnesota’s After The Burial certainly know how to wrench an ungodly racket out of them, and the band’s third full-length wields some damn fine reasons to torture your ears.
The strongest material opens the record, in the form of “My Frailty” and “Your Troubles Will Cease And Fortune Will Smile On You.” Both tracks blend juddering, polyrhythmic riffs and rhythms designed to shake the teeth out of your head with darkly melodic licks that stir up a poignancy that strikingly co-exists with the aggression, and they are stunning in their own right. Proving themselves so adept at creating such an exhilarating racket they could very easily have thrown in another six identikit tracks to round the record out, and though that may well have been welcome, they should be saluted for experimenting outside of this, admittedly with mixed results.
“Pendulum,” which manages to be genuinely plaintive while hammering you stupid, is a fine song, as is “To Carry You Away,” which mirrors it in reigning in the more extreme elements of their sound and weaving much more melody into the mix. While in places both stray a little too close to generic metalcore, their more dynamic elements ensure that overall they remain engaging and hit home hard. Thankfully, the band also avoid the common trap of being convoluted for the sake of it, though the more direct, almost Slayer-esque “Sleeper” and closer “Encased In Ice,” which both wield a hell of a kick, seem almost a little too easy for them—but that’s not to say they won’t whip mosh pits into apoplectic frenzies when unleashed in the clubs.
With so many bands now glutting up the tech-metal scene, it’s always heartening to find a unit who refuse to stick too closely to the genre’s norms, and with In Dreams, After The Burial have delivered a record that has moments of true magnificence to it, and this definitely makes them a band to watch closely in the future.