After The Burial
17 December 2013
by Tomas Doyle
Here’s something I never understood about Djent: you learn to count when you’re in nursery school, so why is twanging away in one arbitrary number over some other arbitrary number considered more impressive than, say, being the milk monitor? The reason, you suspect, is that for virginal bedroom wankers everywhere, numbers represent a measurable and concrete thing. Each Djent-ist can see who is doing better than the rest because of what difficult integers they are crowbarring their riffs in to. You can’t argue with stats.
Except you can, can’t you? All brains and no heart makes for crushingly dull records, and Minnesotan quintet After The Burial have a task on their hands trying to differentiate themselves from every other idiot with an Ibanez and a knocked off copy of Protools. Their main weapon in the fight against mundanity on this, their fourth full length effort, is the pervasive rock n roll and hardcore energy with which they imbue their pulverising, syncopated metal. Take ‘Of Fearful Men’. There’s a punk rock injection of pace, some straight forward Unearth chug, a decent hardcore call-to-arms, a jazzy interlude and even a ripping guitar solo to get your teeth into before you need to draw for your calculator out to make sense of what time signature it’s being performed in. Diversity is the order of the day and there are moments here that gallop along with all the joie de vivre of Waking The Fallen-era Avenged Sevenfold. That’s a really good thing.
Admittedly, there are still a few regrettable passages where they hammer away senselessly at their bottom strings with such staccato punch that, perversely, it almost turns into a drone. For the most part though, there is a pleasing invention on offer, not to mention some actual songwriting. Imagine if Parkway Drive had a boner for TesseracT’s recorded output and you’d be getting close. It’s nimble stuff which retains a solid weight through clever riffing and double-pedal blasting – these guys can play, but most importantly they know when to play.
Wolves Within is an impressive offering then, which demonstrates an admirable ability to steer away from the template and throw more than the most obvious influences into the blender. Two-steppers, technical geeks and headbangers alike will all be able to take something away from this smorgasboard of meaty metal morsels. And best of all, you don’t have to have a degree in theoretical mathematics to get it.
Sounds Like: Veil of Maya, Unearth, Parkway Drive
Standout Tracks: Virja, Of Fearful Men