The progressive metal titans, After The Burial, are set to release their sixth full-length studio album, Evergreen, on April 19th via Sumerian Records. (Very yummy CD/Vinyl Bundles can be found here.) Over the years, the band have been experimenting and dipping their toes into a multitude of sounds, honing it record by record. According to guitarist Trent Hafdahl, Evergreen is “album that is wholeheartedly ATB,” and more in line with what they know. We gave it a listen to see how it fares up.
This careful modeling of sound pays off in Evergreen from the outset. The record’s opener, “Behold The Crown,” screams After The Burial, with hooks aplenty and ferocious drumming from Dan Carle. Their progressive influences are rife in Evergreen, with “In Flux” bringing Meshuggah vibes galore alongside their signature build-ups and breakdowns. There’s loads here for both fans new and old to dig deep into.
After the heavy progressive kickstarters “Behold the Crown” and “Exit, Exist,” Evergreen takes a more melodic turn with “11:26.” It retains the classic After The Burial sound, but presents a softer side with melodic guitar plucking, and the gorgeous progressive interlude which separates Anthony Notarmaso’s screams and the atmospheric barrage which follows. This song, especially, and the outro to “In Flux,” are quite emotional and really showcase the band’s maturity and growth since their previous record, Dig Deep.
This is the video for “Behold The Crown” and you should already be watching it!
There are a few points which are lacking in comparison to the rest of the record. “Respire,” for example, is somewhat of a safe track, with nothing really being added to the table. Alongside this, the atmospheric portions of some of the songs feel a little long. That said, it’s classic After The Burial and leads the way to “Quicksand” – one of Evergreen’s high rankers which flips the feeling of “Respire” on its head. Its progressive intro and heavy bass lines are some of After The Burial’s darkest yet, and its slower tempo makes for a more malevolent approach in comparison to the album’s other tracks.
The latter half of the record brings After The Burial’s more interesting progressive elements to the forefront. “To Challenge Existence” is full of methodical and precise riffs, mutes aplenty, and catchy hooks which dig deep into the hippocampus. “A Pulse Exchanged” follows closely, and maintains this high level of complexity, amidst atmosphere and melody in abundance. Their last hurrah on Evergreen is not wasted by any means, and projects the ferocity which pours throughout. It’s abundantly clear with Evergreen that After The Burial have completely found themselves – and it’s astounding.
Evergreen is arguably After The Burial’s most mature release thus far, and as the name suggests, they’re nowhere near finished yet. Their comfort in their own sound is audible throughout, and the confidence seeps through, resulting in a record which is relentless and catchy through and through. Interesting melodic elements encompass Evergreen, but taking a less experimental and more secure approach this time around has allowed After The Burial to produce a monolith of progressive onslaught which is true to themselves and themselves alone.
A recent press photo of the group of heavy-hitting musicians.
Evergreen Track Listing:
01. Behold The Crown
02. Exit, Exist
04. In Flux
07. The Great Repeat
08. To Challenge Existence
09. A Pulse Exchanged
Run Time: 39:58
Release Date April 19, 2019
Record Label: Sumerian Records