Review Summary: An entirely evil and incredible sophomore release from one of death metal’s finest and most consistent bands.
After five years since their previous album, Immolation emerged again to encapsulate the darkness of death metal. While taking a five year break in between albums is not always the best idea, Immolation clearly didn’t stand idly by during those years. Sounding more mature and focused than their already great first album, Here In After
simultaneously takes everything Dawn Of Possession
did right and gives an even more unique sound.
From the very beginning of the album, the guitars are eerie and unorthodox in their playing. Combing a healthy dose of speed with mid-tempo flourishes, guitarists Robert Vigna and Tom Wilkinson set the tone for the rest of the album. Fitting perfectly with the artwork, the riffing is unpredictable and harsh. Where the playing truly excels is in the slowest parts. On songs like “I Feel Nothing” and “Under The Supreme” the guitars are slowed down to near doom levels at times. This gives a very palpable sense of evil and mourning to the music. This style would be used much more sparingly on albums after Close To A World Below
. The solos on Here In After
are equally stunning. The playing during the solos is the fastest guitar work on the album, yet often times has a section where the guitars slow down and become more sinister and brooding.
As with their previous album, the drumming is expertly tailored to the rest of the music, keeping pace with the rest of the playing and adding to it. The drums were properly recorded so that it sounds natural and, as a result, each kick and note can be heard clearly when played. The playing itself is tight and gives evidence that an experienced drummer, Craig Smilowski, is behind the kit. Unfortunately, this would be his last recording with Immolation, but he left a lasting mark with this album
The only subject of controversy for this album is the vocals. Some say that they are too monotonous and unenjoyable. While it may be true that the vocals hardly vary over the course of the album, their execution is phenomenal. Spewed by Ross Dolan, the vocals on this album are even deeper and more powerful than on his previous work. Unlike with many other vocals this low, the lyrics are clearly discernible for most of the album. This allows the listener to actually comprehend the lyrics. As opposed to many anti-religious lyrics, the lyrics on Here In After
are intelligent and never seem cheesy or outright cringey. A notable aspect of the vocals is that they seem to vibrate when a note is held, something that has been removed on later releases.
One flaw in this album is that there is basically no bass guitar. It would make sense that the bassist, also Ross Dolan, would want to have his instrument be heard, but this just isn’t the case. While it may make the album slightly better, Here In After
is already bass heavy and it could be too overbearing if the bass guitar was brought up in the mix.
Here In After
stands as a monument to the intense and anti-religious brand of death metal that Immolation is so famous for. This album is the best of their original style, that is, before they changed it on Close To A World Below
. Between the multitude of riffs, nearly incomparable sense of nihilism, and unique sound epitomized in this album, Here In After
is a must listen for fans of death metal and still retains its power after over two decades.