Review Summary: Chug chug + Sweet guitar work + Chug chug + Killer vocals = Forging a Future SelfAfter the Burial
– Forging a Future Self
Minnesota natives After the Burial
have frequently been stamped as a deathcore act, but that is really a false assumption. Sure, songs are soaked with low, guttural growls, as well as high-pitched shrieks, but the subject matter behind the band’s music is anything but death, as well as clear influences from other genres present in their instrumental work. Progressive metalcore is better fitting, with the aforementioned heavier vocals adding some intense seasoning to the listening experience. Due to the deathcore tag, my expectations for Forging a Future Self
were rather low, and I braced myself for either a dull or painful listen. So many bands have tried and failed at this relatively simple formula, would After the Burial
do so as well? On the contrary they did not (and again, were not really deathcore), and this was a very consistent and satisfying rookie release, setting a solid foundation for the rest of the young group’s career.
After the Burial
is, so far, a melting pot of traits of today’s metal scene(s). In addition to the harsh vocals, breakdowns occur very often within Forging a Future Self
, adding a metalcore element to their overall sound. Situated in between these moments are an abundance of melodic guitar riffs and arpeggios of the progressive sort, which prove to be some of the more enjoyable moments of the album and help it abstain from any possible bland tone. The occasional solos are exceptional as well, nothing gratuitous as they make their appearances when a song begins to stale slightly. I’m always open to the inclusion of solos, as they are shamefully absent in much of today’s metal. Another positive is the variety of the vocals. There are hardly any moments of clean vocals (thankfully though, the singing is pretty dreadful), but After the Burial
avoid monotony with higher screeches mixed up with the darkest of death metal vocals, as well as throwing in the occasional coherent yell or incoherent pig squeal. Heck, they include a bit of every vocal style of current metal, which, corresponding with the many constituents of their playing style makes for a very unpredictable listen during the first couple of run-throughs.
The fatal flaw apparent in Forging a Future Self
is the breakdown. It’s not so much that they aren’t well done, although they are by no means spectacular, but After the Burial
gets way too caught up in the chug-chug mindset. Pi (the Mercury God of Infinity)
begins with a very beautiful classical guitar intro that proves to be a great start to the album, until the rest of the song turns into a ridiculously choppy and boring chug fest, and then one is hit with the sudden urge to click the fast-forward button. When a band has as much sheer talent as After the Burial
, it’s truly a shame to see them resort to a head banging party multiple times in each song. To make matters worse, the production on this self-produced album is pretty raw. It flatters the more melodious guitar lines, but these breakdowns sound very jerky and feeble, as opposed to the fortitude shown by those of such bands as All Shall Perish
or Between the Buried and Me
circa The Silent Circus
. In this aspect the band simply doesn’t seem like it would fit in the deathcore genre, as they do speed and colorful instrumental work well, but can’t seem to pull off that gory sort of heavy as well as others (this could only be the production though). Songs that work with slower tempos are void from this recording, and much replay value is absent due to this. Including sections like this works wonders for numerous progressive bands, as it is nice to be able to relax a bit between every few songs. Save for the first minute of the opening track, this album is going to be intense and won’t let up, whether it is for better or worse.
Even with the few negatives, Forging a Future Self
was a very impressive debut for a band that avoids the generic and fuses components of many different genres awfully well. With more than enough time and room for improvement, After the Burial
have a bright future ahead of them, assuming they stick with what works for them rather than experimenting in undesirable areas.
Strong instrumentals all around, although mainly from the guitars
Solos are always a welcome site
Killer vocals, and plenty of diversity in them despite them all being associated with heavy
The perfect length, just long enough to make all their talent visible and heard
Too much chugging and breakdowns
Production is weak
The thrills won’t last forever, as all the songs are paced about the same
A Steady Decline
Forging a Future Self