After The Burial
Following the suicide of guitarist and founding member Justin Lowe in the summer of 2015, many wondered what would become of the metalcore band After The Burial. In the midst of their surrounding shambles, the group decided to not get beat by what beat Lowe. They then continued to work on the album that had already been started. Working with producer Will Putney (Stray From The Path, The Acacia Strain), what resulted is Dig Deep. Not only a farewell to their fallen bandmate, but a resiliency to keep going.
From the first moments on the record, listeners can feel the urgency bleeding through After The Burial’s sound. “Collapse” kicks off with a fluttery and choppy guitar riff backed by bombastic drums. It’s heavy, it’s pissed off and it’s a refreshing sound for a genre often too worried on technical breakdowns. When the build comes crashing down, it’s done in a tasteful jazzy style with Anthony Notarmaso’s vocals roaring over top. “Lost In The Static” rips through the mix with quick machine gun rhythmic pulses and elegant guitar riffs transcending the beat. “The Endless March” is similar in style, showcasing punchy palm muted guitars weaving between technical riffs. There’s a section where both guitars are chugging in different time intervals while the drums are maintaining a constant battering of eighth notes. Instead of constantly pushing through the assault with their groovy guitars, they find harmony in noodling solos and changing the rhythm to keep listeners from falling asleep. It’s crafty and highlights the intricate talent that the band still possess while missing one of their writing members.
Yet, deep in the sound there is a sorrowful sludge in the songs. “Laurentian Ghosts” is the apex of the riveting emotions that come with losing a close friend. The music marks a sonic shift in the tone of the record, showing the band’s vulnerable side with sweeping guitar progressions full of melody. If Dig Deep was used as a visible metaphor, this would be the point of the record where the band hits their slow and starts the ascension towards finding solace through tragedy. “Catacombs” is another trudging tune showcasing melodious discord, as evidenced by the bending guitar notes between the chords. The small acoustic break slows the pace before heading into measured technical chaos. If you find yourself scratching your head at why this sounds so familiar, it is because “Deluge” has a similar tone and the guitars flow through some similar notes.
For After The Burial, a terrible scenario brought forth a new vision. This is the most inspired I have ever heard the group, and Dig Deep possesses a heavy cathartic release in nine, short yet brutal songs. The group never try to outdo themselves, rather they mustered all their passion together and wrote not only for them, but for their lost brother Justin Lowe. (Sean Gonzalez)