Review Summary: From the carcass of a beautiful peacock rises a putrid black phoenix
Once upon a time, there was a Canadian prog-metalcore band that did not get their due. Their name was The Afterimage, and they've been melting my face since their first EP over half a decade ago. Long story short, the band crashed and burned, but not for lack of trying. Their final album EVE was a worthy farewell to their legacy but it begs the question of what went wrong. I don't have the answer to that, yet that album should have put The Afterimage squarely at the forefront of their contemporaries. Yet for whatever reason, be it piracy or weak promotion, the band called it quits and reverted to their deathcore side-project, comprised of virtually all the same members. While this may have been a mere side-venture for the group in the past, with the unfortunate collapse of their main band, Kyle Anderson and the gang have gone full throttle with this project and I commend them for this.
While The Afterimage's output has always maintained a balance of mainstream melodies and abrasive noise, clearly there is a heap of bitterness and resentment over how the band fell apart because this new album is a deep-dive into over-the-top brutality that eschews Kyle's tell-tale soaring clean vocals in favour of the filthiest gutturals and highs you can imagine. The melodic sensibilities you're used to are gone, burned away leaving only an all-out assault on the senses. Worthy of mention are The Branded which throws you to the ground and pummels, as well as Claw Marks and Beast Of Darkness which are utterly relentless in their attack.
For fans of The Afterimage, including myself, there is a hard shift here that is difficult to accept. The band was riding high, then all of a sudden they were gone, morphing back whole-sale into a side-project that resides in way more of a niche genre. It was a rather bizarre move, but once you get past the initial shell-shock, the offering here is undeniable.
This album feels like listening to The Afterimage except only the heavy parts dialed up to over 9000. While I weep over the demise of the mighty The Afterimage, I can at least dry my tears in the filthy black hole that is this album.