Review Summary: If what you are searching and what you are seeking is good prog metalcore, then you've come to the right place.
The Afterimage were a 5-piece progressive metalcore band from Ontario, who, despite having been together for six years, only released two EPs, and one full-length album toward the end of their career. Their second EP, 2015's Lumiere
, consists of eight tracks, three of which had been previously released as singles as early as 2012 (Seeking
, and Onyx
). With this in mind before my first listen, I was expecting a haphazardly thrown together collection of songs from a band who seemed unwilling to just sit down and write an album. But much to my surprise, I was met with the opposite – a musically and lyrically cohesive effort which played to all of the band's strengths, and in my opinion one of the best releases the genre has to offer.
begins with the title track, which is a two-minute piano-guided, somewhat industrial-sounding affair in which vocalist Kyle Anderson sings repeatedly the mantra of the EP: "Release. I'll release everything, release all I am." The second track, Seeking
, plunges into more of what is to be expected from the rest of the EP – technical yet melodic guitar leads intermingled with rhythmic chugging; fast-paced, cymbal-heavy drumming; Kyle's low-ranged screams which compliment his higher-pitched singing – all packaged together with production that is loud, clean, and in-your-face. Tracks two through six follow a similar verse-chorus-verse-chorus formula, but with heavier moments sprinkled tastefully throughout. After the Without You
interlude, the album concludes with Reach
, which, after three more minutes of melodic riffing, Kyle reminds you again, if you are singing along, to release all that you are.
The two aspects of Lumiere
that captivate me the most are the guitarwork, and its catchiness. Although I'm wary to give any individual guitarist songwriting credit due to these songs being written during a four year span in which there were many member changes, the vibrant technicality of these riffs rivals those of Jesse Cash of Erra and Will Swan of Dance Gavin Dance, which are two bands The Afterimage clearly drew inspiration from. And while Kyle does well at coinciding with the heavier sections of the music with his screaming, his clean vocals on the choruses and occasionally on some verses are absolutely infectious. Between the passion with which he sings and the relatable philosophical struggles he sings about, it is impossible not to have at least one track stuck in your head after each listen.
As of the time I'm writing this review, I believe progressive metalcore of the "djent" variety to be on its way out the door, so to speak. But even after the trend meets its inevitable doom, Lumiere
, with its fun hooks and fantastic songwriting, will always stick out to me as much more than just a product of its time. Sure, The Afterimage has two other releases, but the Formless
EP, as the name implies, sounds like an incomplete version of what the band would later become, and their full-length album EVE
just doesn't have the same spark that Lumiere
does, perhaps due to a loss of passion or one too many member changes. Thankfully, with the 27-minute runtime, a blessing for an EP this good, Lumiere
offers just enough to be a wholly gratifying listen.