Music

After the Burial: Dig Deep

Next generation metalcore pack leaders navigate the death of guitarist Justin Lowe and nonetheless make a triumphant future genre touchstone.


After the Burial

Dig Deep

Label: Sumerian
US Release Date: 2016-02-19
Amazon
iTunes

To say that Minnesota's After the Burial have grown is a gross understatement. The hard-working band was already worthy of respect for several younger waves of modern prog-tinged, imaginative metalcore and a heavy touring ethic. However, the startling suicide of mentally troubled (yet truly blessed creative talent) former guitarist Justin Lowe was more than just a tragic footnote for the scene. It was a wake up call for many kids in the current heavy scene to re-focus on unity over troll culture, a chance to make the metal and hardcore world mean more than fashion and cliques again. It was a chance to say ", It's ok to say something if you're hurting."

Indeed, After the Burial's name may be more sadly ironic than ever but they were galvanized to live on in Justin's name, following their hearts where most bands might have buckled.

The results on new album Dig Deep are nothing short of spectacular. Don't be surprised if this record and Killswitch Engage's pending Incarnate are neck in neck for metalcore contenders of the year in 2016.

Opener "Collapse" features dive bomb guitars over super busy riffing yet anchored to a strong framework. After the Burial have had moments of dizzying guitar brilliance that threatened to drift off into the astral plane in the past on fan favorite 2010 release In Dreams. Dig Deep has some of that stuff but is more akin to a more focused and fluid version of their perhaps formerly heaviest smasher Rareform, a youngblood statement of aggro intent from 2008.

Time, tragedy and sobering reality make this album After the Burial's best yet, however. All the performances have a sense of complete commitment. Thankfully some of Justin's riffs still made the album as well and nonetheless his presence is the ghost in the machine here. The senseless loss of one of the premiere players in the scene was not only sad on a human level but for the metal and hardcore world's "could have been" years to come as well.

If anything, even a passable knowledge of the band's story will make you feel something, but paired with the intense sounds and polyrhythmic charge of these songs, you'll be rocked across the room. "Lost in the Static" features Anthony Notarmaso delivering the type of confident Sumerian core spastic vocal stacato attack that made the slippery tongued Bizzy Bone of Bone Thugs N Harmony not entirely out of place on the mostly metalcore label. After the Burial aren't as indulgent as Veil of Maya or Born of Osiris in the musical grandiosity department, but are rooted more in the streets and moshpit survival mode. The band take less detours than recent August Burns Red while still prizing mathy, djent-tastic riffs paired with surprising melodic rock with classical flourishes ("Laurentian Ghosts"), solid pocket drum grooves ("Catacombs") and of course some crunchy but not overly relied upon breakdowns ("Deluge").

"I feel so much better here below," Notarmaso bellows on album highlight "Mire". Yet it thankfully feels more like he means "below" within the underground amidst the support of peers and friends rather than swallowed by the darkness of a cruel world.

This may be a very heavy album with true heartbreak at the core yet hope shines even through the band's darkest hours to date. Like the lamp on the album cover down in the roots of the Earth, here is wishing them a brighter, kinder yield in the karmic future. Here is also hoping it comforts fans, as it should, that there is honor in picking up the pieces of shattered faith and trying again.

7
Music


Books


Film


Recent
Music

Laura Nyro's "Save the Country" Calls Out from the Past

Laura Nyro, a witchy, queer, ethnic Russian Jew, died young, but her non-conformist anthem, "Save the Country", carries forth to these troubled times.

Books

Journalist Jonathan Cott's Interviews, Captured

With his wide-ranging interviews, Jonathan Cott explores "the indispensable and transformative powers of the imagination."

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Coronavirus and the Culture Wars

Infodemics, conspiracies -- fault lines beneath the Fractured States of America tremble in this time of global pandemic, amplify splinters, fractures, and fissures past and present.

Music

'Switched-On Seeker' Is an Imaginative Electronic Reimagining of Mikal Cronin's Latest LP

Listeners who prefer dense rock/pop timbres will no doubt prefer Mikal Cronin's 'Seeker'. However, 'Switched-On Seeker' will surely delight fans of smaller-scale electronic filters.

Music

IYEARA Heighten the Tension on Remix of Mark Lanegan's "Playing Nero" (premiere)

Britsh trio IYEARA offer the first taste of a forthcoming reworking of Mark Lanegan's Somebody's Knocking with a remix of "Playing Nero".

Music

Pottery Take Us Deep Into the Funky and Absurd on 'Welcome to Bobby's Motel'

With Welcome to Bobby's Motel, Pottery have crafted songs to cleanse your musical pallet and keep you firmly on the tips of your toes.

Music

Counterbalance 23: Bob Dylan - 'Blood on the Tracks'

Bob Dylan makes his third appearance on the Acclaimed Music list with his 1975 album, Blood on the Tracks. Counterbalance’s Eric Klinger and Jason Mendelsohn are planting their stories in the press.

Music

Luke Cissell Creates Dreamy, Electronic Soundscapes on the Eclectic 'Nightside'

Nightside, the new album from composer and multi-instrumentalist Luke Cissell, is largely synthetic and electronic but contains a great deal of warmth and melody.

Music

Bibio Discusses 'Sleep on the Wing' and Why His Dreams Are of the Countryside

"I think even if I lived in the heart of Tokyo, I'd still make music that reminds people of the countryside because it's where my dreams often take me," says Bibio (aka Stephen Wilkinson) of his music and his new rustic EP.

Reading Pandemics

Pandemic, Hope, Defiance, and Protest in 'Romeo and Juliet'

Shakespeare's well known romantic tale Romeo and Juliet, written during a pandemic, has a surprisingly hopeful message about defiance and protest.

Film

A Family Visit Turns to Guerrilla Warfare in 'The Truth'

Catherine Deneuve plays an imperious but fading actress who can't stop being cruel to the people around her in Hirokazu Koreeda's secrets- and betrayal-packed melodrama, The Truth.

Music

The Top 20 Punk Protest Songs for July 4th

As punk music history verifies, American citizenry are not all shiny, happy people. These 20 songs reflect the other side of patriotism -- free speech brandished by the brave and uncouth.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.