What do you do when you lose a member of your family? How do you feel when someone you call your brother takes his own life? I can’t imagine how I would react if I lost one of the members of my band in such a way, and I especially can’t understand how that feels when you’re right in the middle of recording a new record. AFTER THE BURIAL have been through quite a lot recently, and a lot of people were worried about the outcome of the new album. I saw several comments along the lines of, “It’s not the same without (the late) Justin Lowe”, or, “This won’t live up to the other records, they’re missing a vital piece now.” and, while I sympathize with the fans, I think everyone should wonder if the members are okay FIRST. They’re human beings. Not instrument-playing machines in place to churn out records for your amusement. They do this craft because they love it, not because it’s expected. That being said, for anyone who thought the songs might suffer due to the loss of their guitarist, you thought wrong…very, very wrong.
Dig Deep (February 19, Sumerian Records) is only nine tracks long, but I think that’s all they needed to say what they wanted to say with their music. Now, I will point out, it seems a liiiiitle repetitive but, I’m certainly not mad about it. There’s something about these songs that REALLY bring the mosh out in me. Some of them even have this strange Rock & Roll feel. I really don’t know how to explain it other than saying that they convey an attitude without being outrageous for the sake of turning heads. So many bands want to do some poppy-ass chorus, and then drop into a breakdown right after yelling something along the lines of, “U FUKIN’ BITCH”, or “SUK MI DIK”, but AFTER THE BURIAL steers clear of pretty much every cliché in the book. On the subject of attitude, some of the guitar solos on this record are just ripe with strange vibes and note choices that sound super unique. I don’t really think anyone else in the game right now can pull off such a Steve Vai/Joe Satriani vibe over crippling breakdowns. In fact, I think it would be laughable if anyone else tried.
This body of work takes some strange turns in almost every song, and I think that, again, that’s something only AFTER THE BURIAL can pull off properly. “Laurentian Ghosts” goes from this emotionally melodic passage for the first half of the song, into a heaving 20-ton heavy portion that’s indicated by the sound of a lone air-horn firing off. “Heavy Lies The Ground” has one of the more prominent guitar solos on the disc with all the strange bends and slides that go on, making it sound awkward in some spots, but in a good ‘experimental’ way. The track called “Deluge” is damn near a fucking power metal song with the upbeat intro and major key guitar riffs.
All of the elements that were mentioned here combine to make a really great album. Seriously, this shit jams. So, as a writer, I want to thank AFTER THE BURIAL for continuing to make music in spite of the circumstances. As a musician, I want to say that the heart and talent you fellas poured into this record won’t go unnoticed. And as a person, I want to say I empathize with you as much as I can, and I hope the wounds heal eventually. Good luck to all of you if you see this. I know it’s not easy.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Deluge”, “Lorentian Ghosts”, “Heavy Lies The Ground”