Album Year: 2013
Location: Twin Cities, Minneapolis
Until recently, there were only two bands that could automatically jump to the top of my “best of” list when they put out a new album: Slipknot and Veil of Maya. Both of those bands are literally flawless in everything they do musically. I can now, confidently add VoM’s Sumerian label mates, After the Burial to that list. Their fourth studio album, Wolves Within, came at the end of an extremely long year that saw some of the best modern day albums in the death metal, deathcore and thrash metal genres. How did they manage to pull off such a jump after a sharing a release year with present day classics like Everblack, Pelegial and Serpents Unleashed? Simple, all After the Burial did was bring back everything that made them great in the past in order to bounce their way into the future.
The album kicks off with the track “Anti-Pattern,” which features that delicious drum solo that Sumerian Records so maniacally teased us with in September. By the time the guitars kicked in, I was already pulled over to the side of the road doing the Bernie in the front seat of my car. The album then slammed its way into the next track, “Of Fearful Men,” and since I’ve already raped the Youtube replay button on that track about 200 times since Sumerian posted it (as I’m sure you all have too), I won’t go into much detail about that one.
My thoughts on the track “Pennyweight,” could perhaps best be summed up by the tracks first lyrics: “Fuck YEAH!! OHH.” The track slams head first into a punchy yet groovy rhythmic combustion similar to the one found on “Your Troubles will Cease and Fortune Will Smile Upon you” from their last album, In Dreams. Oh be sure to stick around until the end of the track, which features a breakdown so heavy, it made the great Mitch Lucker pull off his signature stomp in his grave.
“Disconnect” was a much more melodic, harmonious track like “Pendulum” or “To Carry you Away.” The one-two combination of guitarists Justin Lowe and Trent Hafdahl give this song it’s personality and lifeblood, while always on point drummer Dan Carle provides the ever-changing pulse. “Nine Summers” just made me think “Ok, now they’re just showing off about how awesome they are.” Side note: If anyone with influence on the selection can read this, WE WANT AFTER THE BURIAL ON MAYHEM FEST NEXT SUMMER GOD DAMMIT!!! End side note.
Now, back to the album. “Virga,” their ode to the equally speedy track Berzerker, is probably my favorite track on the album. To me, it’s the most ferocious “do 18-spin kicks and then punch yourself in the dick” track they’ve released to date.
I enjoyed “Neo-Soul,” although to be honest I was still blacked out from doing 18 spin kicks and punching myself in the dick to the previous track that it kind of went by like a blur to me. That track and “Parise” were both fairly typical After the Burial tracks: absurdly complex with so many tempo changes that all I could do was head bang along and pray that I didn’t break my neck.
The final track, “A Wolf Amongst Ravens,” I had played on repeat since a live video of them performing it in Russia went up on YouTube. It was a very solid track to close the album on. By this point, I’m mentally exhausted from hearing such awesomeness….so it’s time to start the album all over again!
And that just about does it for Wolves Within. The album is a fucking masterpiece.