Review Summary: To be honest, I'm more interested in what went down before the burial
It’s easier and easier nowadays to become cynical with the state of modern metalcore music. As a whole, it’s a genre populated by very talented musicians placing themselves in increasingly smaller creative boxes as the music becomes more specialized. It seems like almost every deathcore/metalcore band has hopped on the djent bandwagon, a sound that naturally lends itself to homogeneity. When every band has the exact same guitar tone, it’s hard to criticize anyone that thinks all these artists sound the same. But it’s also become increasingly cliche to review a core album by simply discussing the state of the genre as a whole, and ignoring whatever merits are contained within any given album. To avoid writing a review that is just as samey as the style of music I’m writing about, I decided to view this album for what it is, outside of the confines of its associated genre. Going in with an open mind I pleasantly discovered that Dig Deep
is a fine record.
After The Burial’s newest record is enjoyable on a pretty basic level. It’s catchy, groovy, technical, and it doesn’t waste your time. Crafting a record that is nine tracks and clocks in under 40 minutes is quite wise as After The Burial’s fidgety brand of groovy metalcore lends itself to the kind of brevity typically enjoyed by core fans with short attention spans. Chugging, atonal and technical guitar riffs, breakdowns, and the occasional melodic moment comprise the sound of every song, but on a track by track basis these elements are strung together in a slightly different order that could liberally be described as variety. Despite a largely consistent tone, Dig Deep
has its moments. The strong breakdowns that end “Sway of the Break” and “Collapse” come to mind, as does the melodic riffage of “Deluge,” and the melancholy acoustic guitar intro of “Laurentian Ghosts.” Dig Deep
is a strong record taken individually, but if taken in contextually it's merely a collection of metalcore bits and pieces you’ve probably heard before, albeit strung together well enough.
The biggest flaw with Dig Deep
is the djent guitar tone, which I find fundamentally unpleasant to listen to. I’ll admit this is a very personal bias that negatively affects the quality of the music for me, but most fans of this type of metalcore likely won’t feel the same way. The fact that I enjoyed this record despite my almost insurmountable disdain for the most distinguishable aspect of After The Burial’s sound is a testament to the strength of the songwriting presented on this record. After extensive open-minded analysis, I must conclude that Dig Deep
is a good album regardless of genre, but despite my claim of genre-less critique, I feel obliged to say that Dig Deep
is also one of the finest metalcore albums of the last few years.