After the Burial Evergreen

After the Burial Evergreen
6
After the Burial don't do easy. According to them, there is no riff that can't fit more notes, no sound that can't be pushed further, no guitar string that can't be down-tuned. Just listen to the opening single of their sixth album Evergreen. "Behold the Crown" is a mashup of everything that has always made After the Burial great — mind-bending technicality that manages to loop back around to be catchy again.
 
Longtime fans will love "In Flux," "The Great Repeat" and the particularly djent-y "To Challenge Existence." There's some strong Meshuggah influence in the monotone vocals and rabid slamming of the lowest notes. "Respire" sounds like a Lamb of God/Periphery collaboration and ends up being Evergreen's best track. After the Burial are clearly fantastic musicians, but they shine brightest when they stop trying to impress us with their chops and just let the riffs roll.
 
The only problem is that After the Burial often paint themselves into a corner. The low-note hammering loses its impact by "Quicksand" and there are few places to go from there. Evergreen is an album that is best listened to in conjunction with other music. Taken apart, each of the songs are brilliant. But when they are played in sequence, the lack of personality and dynamics start to show. (Sumerian)