After the Burial album review

Celeste Welshhons

After the Burial’s December release, “Wolves Within,” is not pure death metal. There are moments of pleasant, groovy rhythms, as well as the timeless appeal of a well-placed beat. “Wolves Within” is the fourth studio album for After the Burial, and their first since “In Dreams,” released in 2010.

The tasteful and appropriate minute-plus intro to the opening track, “Anti-Pattern,” makes a smooth transition to the beginning of the song, marked distinctively by the sudden deep growling vocals of Anthony Notarmaso.

The hardcore vocals persist through the rest of this track as well as the following track, “Of Fearful Men.” After the first 90 seconds of the second track, the relentless menacing tone of the intense guitar work dominates, leaving the listener only a short break to catch their breath. 

The fake ending adds another interesting and successful dynamic to the song. Where some songs would fade harmlessly out at the three-minute mark, the drums shake the listener back to attention as the song comes to a more intense climax.

My favorite song on “Wolves Within” is definitely “Parise.” From the beginning, the catchy groove, atypical of a death metal album had me hooked. If death metal is capable of mellow, this is the track that releases the tension.   

Since “Parise” is so different than all the other songs, it is easily the biggest standout on the album. The song’s departure from the usual intensity of heavy death metal, however, is likely to turn off some loyal After the Burial fans.

Another great song is the preceding track, “Neo Seoul.” This track starts with a softer intro that could pull in some metal fans uncomfortable with the rough nature of death metal, but the rest of the song does not follow suit. As the intro ends and the death returns to the metal, the real After the Burial fans show up to take their place.

One common element in almost all of the tracks is a breakdown near the end of the song. This becomes even more cool if you look at the track listing as a whole. The songs “Neo Seoul” and “Parise” act as the softer breakdown for the entire album. And like the structure of the songs, the album has to end with a bang which comes in the form of “A Wolf Amongst Ravens.”

“A Wolf Amongst Ravens” is an ideal song. It starts quietly, gets really loud, hard, and heavy, then ends on the softest note of “Wolves Within.” The angelic-sounding voices at the end bring the song and album to a satisfying close and make for the second-best song on the album.