Afterbirth
The Time Traveler's Dilemma


4.1
excellent

Review

by Xenophanes STAFF
August 4th, 2017 | 49 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A vibrant and vital death metal record 23 years in the making.

Afterbirth's debut is long time coming. Aside from a demo dropped in 1994, the band has been on ice for 23 years. Against all odds, most of Afterbirth has returned to pick up where they left off and then some. Instances like this happen fairly often, a death metal band rising from the ashes to triumphantly release a (typical disappointing) new record in a scene that has long since forgotten about them. Afterbirth buck this trend. The Time Traveler's Dilemma is a vibrant and vital death metal record that feels powerfully original but fitting within the modern death metal scene.

It's easy to look at an album called The Time Traveler's Dilemma, with its kaleidoscopic sci-fi cover, and mistake it for a masturbatory dork-prg emblem of excess; the kind of cover that evokes the dull and hyper-clean style of The Lucid Collective or Lugal Ki Eb. But Afterbirth are nothing like Archspire or Rings of Saturn. Afterbirth are a down and dirty Artificial Brain, Gorguts, and Defeated Sanity loving death metal band with killer riffs and the Cookie Monster vocal stylings of Demilich. In this respect, The Time Traveler's Dilemma is the sum of its parts, because the parts are oh so good.

Despite the aforementioned Gorguts, Afterbirth aren't like the oppressive amount of Luc Lemay worshipers like Ad Nauseam. Instead, they merely adopt the spirit and oddity of their inspirations, most notably Artificial Brain with whom they share Will Smith. What they do not share with either band is the tie with Colin Marston, which is a blessing and a hindrance. The Time Traveler's Dilemma could sound better. The vocal tone is weird and the mixing is off. Things sound muddled when the shouldn't and clean when they ought to be a little more gruff. As a package, it sounds great but with a fine tooth comb, the faults do show. However, it does sounds unique. All respect to Marston, he's a tech death production hero, but the scene is currently facing what hardcore has for years with Kurt Ballou. Blemishes aside, it's good to hear an album of this ilk stand out aesthetically, if only a little.

Where The Time Traveler's Dilemma stands out a lot, though, is in its relentless riffage. It's one after the next with "Multiverse Dimentia" and "Eternal Return" having some head-bobbing catchy guitar lines throughout. Standard fare for a genre built on them. But Afterbirth excel at weaving these separate parts together with slightly off kilter sounds and tones. There are plenty of "pretty" parts sprinkled around Cynic-esque tones delivered with a slam-like intensity. It's a cacophonous spiral of disparaging sounds that comes together in one tight, unforgiving pure death metal package. It's a shame that the dynamics are put on cruise control, because the few crescendos found here are so fantastic, that more revelatory moments would have been appreciated.

Yet for all its weird, nagging issues, The Time Traveler's Dilemma is as good an album as its unlikely and harrowing story. This is modern tech death with equal parts brain and brawn, never posturing or showboating in either regard.



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user ratings (16)
Chart.
3.1
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
Relinquished
August 4th 2017


36241 Comments


*on ice for 19 years. good review tho.

kingdedethefifth
August 4th 2017


3423 Comments


Sounds like an incredible record but that dig at Ad Nauseam tsk tsk.

KjSwantko
August 4th 2017


9756 Comments


"Afterbirth are a down and dirty Artificial Brain, Gorguts, and Defeated Sanity loving death metal band with killer riffs and the Cookie Monster vocal stylings of Demilich"

Sounds sick, I'll have to check this out. Nice review, Xeno.

MO
August 4th 2017


21819 Comments


oooo sweet

Evokaphile
August 4th 2017


3965 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"aren't like the oppressive amount of Luc Lemay worshipers like Ad Nauseam"



You never fail to drop a line that ruins everything. Still, good review and I'll defs be lurking this release ahrd.

Digging: Incantation - Profane Nexus

ZippaThaRippa
August 4th 2017


10058 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

How many Timeghouls is this out of 5

ZippaThaRippa
August 4th 2017


10058 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Jesus fucking christ breakdowns on breakdowns

Dizchu
August 4th 2017


263 Comments


This actually sounds really cool

Digging: Omnium Gatherum - Beyond

brainmelter
August 4th 2017


4095 Comments


*Lugal Ki En. good review
lots of name drops tho

Digging: Yoran - Montparnasse

Evokaphile
August 4th 2017


3965 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Name drops add a nice aire of authority agreed.

Jacquibim
Staff Reviewer
August 4th 2017


1897 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Artificial Brain are way more in line with Gorguts than Ad Nauseam are, stylistically. Good review tho, checking this now. Anything warranting 'guts, Demilich and DS comparisons sounds like my kinda ish.

Shadowmire
August 4th 2017


4473 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

this made me a little sad

ianblxdsoe
August 4th 2017


1141 Comments


Review isn't perfect but it's more interesting than the rest of the staff

Digging: Brand New - Science Fiction

kingdedethefifth
August 4th 2017


3423 Comments


Jac is staff and he writes boss reviews. Xeno writes great reviews until he shits on Ad Nauseam: [

ianblxdsoe
August 4th 2017


1141 Comments


it was a joke because he commented that on a snox thread except of staff he was talking shit about contributors so i pasted it here and changed it to staff lol

kingdedethefifth
August 4th 2017


3423 Comments


Oh I'm a dumbass I didn't pick up on that lol.

kingdedethefifth
August 4th 2017


3423 Comments


Yeah we have an influx of great contributors though, you included my man.

ianblxdsoe
August 4th 2017


1141 Comments


i'm not contrib though i'm a user lol

Jacquibim
Staff Reviewer
August 5th 2017


1897 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

yea dedes you friggin idiot

kingdedethefifth
August 5th 2017


3423 Comments


Holy shit what
Make this man a contrib, pronto!



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