After The Burial – Rareform

Band: After The Burial
Album: Rareform
Genre: Hardcore/Metal
Label: Sumerian

Tracks:
1. Berzerker
2. Drifts
3. Cursing Akhenaten
4. Rareform
5. Aspiration
6. The Fractal Effect
7. Ometh
8. A Vicious Reforming of Features

I got a little worried when, five seconds into the first song off of After the Burial’s newest release Rareform, the first thought that popped into my head was, “Oh my, this band sounds exactly like Protest the Hero.” Indeed, the guitar melodies that intro that song, “Bezerker,” greatly resemble the prog-punk band. However, ATB saves itself from being a doomed copycat band worthy of a low score (a hard feat to do, I am very forgiving) and actually make quite an impression on me and their fantastic blend of metal and shred styles.

In order to be successful in this day and age, you can’t just play boring old regular-style metalcore. (What would that be, anyway?) Most bands I have reviewed cleverly mix several elements not associated with metalcore. While ATB’s blend of breakdown and grindcore metal with the melodic balance of technical soloing is definitely not original, (see: The Human Abstract) there’s something very different about this band. The amazing solos stand out the most, ranging in variety from fast shreds to technical melodies shared by both guitarists. The end solo in “Ometh” and the intro solo to “Aspiration” stand out as excellent examples of the guitarists’ craft of old school thrash-sounding solos, plus they just sound beautiful.

As loved as they are by crazy pit dancers, if not done right, breakdowns can sound flat out lame and repetitive. ATB fixes this problem, offering plenty of different looks to the breakdown, incorporating more than just the standard palm muting and crash-hitting combo. The band enjoys throwing in different little sound accessories into the breakdowns, usually featuring crazy time signatures worthy of Born of Osiris’ approval.  Prepare yourself also for dueling guitars on the breakdowns, each guitar playing unique parts and switching parts back and forth, which is fun to listen to with headphones, especially the dark intro to “A Vicious Reforming of Features.” You will also definitely hear some kicks from the double bass-pedal during these ridiculous breakdowns. The vocals for After the Burial are actually pretty cool, as the singer can get down nice and dirty with a raspy death growl and even a deafening Cradle of Filth screech.

Overall, ATB provides great balance between its contrasting styles. “Bezerker” starts fast with it multi-riffed intro, and then weaves back and forth between several breakdown points in the song, the most intense one near the end. “Rareform” features a deep, sinister guitar intro riff that sprinkles in some melodic touches, and set a good head-bopping pace makes a great riff. “Aspiration” starts slow and ballad-like, with the sweet solo draped over it, but eventually launches into the down-tuned guitar metal attack that works side by side with the melodic soloing guitar, and then transforms into another one of ATB’s off-beat breakdowns. My favorite of the album is “Cursing Akenaten,” which begins with a snarling and snake-like riff that grows louder as it builds into breakdown guitar, and when the two forces join it makes for an epic entrance into the song, and the same snake riff reappears throughout the song to keep me drawn in.

Although not crazy fast or even that heavy for that matter, After the Burial is another band that strive to do metal their own way, and they master it quite well. The guitar work is excellent and reminds me a lot of old-school thrash harmonies or even 80s-like guitar soloing. The breakdowns are heavy and dark, and the music is intense and full of energy as it is precise and technical. Can a happy medium be found between bands as different as Protest the Hero and Born of Osiris? You have your answer on Rareform.

*Written By: Jacob Kanclerz*
GRADE: 8/10

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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