After seeing far too many negative reviews of this masterpiece, I think it’s about time that I expressed my love for this album. For those of you that think this was the first album I heard by this band….you would actually be right. Although I was already aware of After the Burial’s existence, I had never bothered to listen to them (along with many other deathcore bands like As Blood Runs Black and Through the Eyes of the Dead). It seems that Sumerian Records has been doing pretty well over the past three years with bands such as The Faceless, I See Stars, Asking Alexandria, Periphery, Animals as Leaders, Born of Osiris, Veil of Maya, and even a dubstep artist known as Borgore. Although Sumerian has been pooping out some of the best albums I’ve ever heard, it seems that the label is possibly being a bit controlling of the bands because most of the Sumerian releases (especially the ones since 2009) sound very similar in some aspects. If you can’t quite see what I’m getting at, I’m talking about this really jumpy Meshuggah sound (sort of like a stretched-out really technical breakdown).
If you consider Meshuggah or this sound occasionally referred to as “djent” to be just breakdown after breakdown, you would basically be correct. But unlike Meshuggah, most of the other bands out there that have this similar sound actually take it and make it interesting. If you haven’t noticed already, I’m not too fond of Meshuggah (although I do own one of their CDs); but I do enjoy listening to them, it’s just that their music gets boring very quickly. If you consider In Dreams by After the Burial to be just breakdown after breakdown, you would be incorrect. Just listen to the first song and you will find that the song opens with a perfect moshing sound (even though it doesn’t have fast double kicks).
I’m not going to bother looking to see if their second vocalist is only on this album or not because regardless of who does the vocals, whoever did it on this album was flawless. The high-pitched vocal fry screams have a touch of intentional distortion to help them fit the rest of the chaos that the record contains. The vocalist also expresses the ability to belt out nasty mid-range yells filled with rage and to exhale some of the deepest growls the deathcore genre has ever heard.
The guitar distortion is very clean therefore making it pleasant to the ears. The album has many sides (not making it constant breakdowns). One of the sounds that this album puts out is a Gojira-influenced sound that sounds fast and creates moshpits on its own, but doesn’t have a very fast double kick being done by the drummer. Another sound that this album drops on you is numerous explosive breakdowns that almost guarantee that whiplash will occur (the best one being during the second half of Pendulum). The last sound that I want to talk about is a powerful melodic death sound similar to that of Soilwork. In the song Pendulum, there are several parts with very melodic parts that even have some clean singing in the background to give the music some beauty. Most of the guitar solos on this album have a traditional heavy metal sound; the best example being the majestic guitar solo during the opening track.
The heaviest track on the record, ironically titled Sleeper, really has a prominent modern Soilwork sound because of the fast tempos and powerful drumming. Another thing that I would like to point out (and this is probably true for all Sumerian albums) is that the amount of bass that is put out by the kick drums and the bass is indescribable by me and possibly is part of the reason why so many people dislike this album because they just couldn’t handle it. I first discovered this album when a couple of the songs leaked and I got my paws on them. I then went on their website and pre-ordered the damn record and will never regret it. I’m giving this fucking masterpiece 19/20.