After The Fall

Unkind

Written by: PP on 09/03/2013 23:13:25

Not since the last Strike Anywhere record will you have heard a vocal performance as outright explosive as the one by the After The Fall vocalist on their fourth full-length "Unkind". It's clear that he models his performance after Thomas Barnett as much as possible, which also means he alternates between a melodic yell and a more hardcore rooted one (think Andrew Neufeld of Comeback Kid) throughout the album. Granted, he's been doing this on all three albums prior to this one, but "Unkind" is his coming-of-age as a vocalist, where his aggressive delivery is finally matched by irresistibly catchy melodies and perfectly timed eruptions of screaming in a way that sticks to mind almost instantly. Much kudos goes to the production engineers behind this release who have been able to capture his energy so well for this album, which has previously been done in only a so-so manner in this scribe's opinion.

At the same time, the band's instrumental department takes also a significant leap forward, where especially the guitars deliver technically challenging, impressively slick fretwork throughout the album, which recalls A Wilhelm Scream for the most part, but also technical punk legends Belvedere. When you put two and two together, you quickly start identifying After The Fall as the missing link between the cleaner, punk rooted approach championed by A Wilhelm Scream and the more hardcore-oriented one by Strike Anywhere, which is good, because that's exactly the niche that After The Fall want to find themselves in. It's no surprise therefore that "Unkind" is incidentally their career best record by a long shot, with 23 minutes of hard-hitting, but catchy melodic hardcore played at the same level as the best names in the genre.

Throughout "Unkind" you'll meet two sides to After The Fall. One, such as the mid section of the album, is that of pure hardcore punk with harshly yelled/screamed vocals, a ridiculous tempo, and an aggressive stance. But it is where the band venture into the melodic hardcore territory that they are at their very best. Here I'm thinking songs like "Cathedral", "Decade", and "Tilburg", where their vocalist sounds just like the aforementioned Thomas Barnett with his explosive vocal delivery that's still jammed with catchy melody. But at the same time, a song like "Disunion" with its heartscraping "I JUST WANT TO BE A BETTER PERSON...THAN YOU" screams works because it sources its hardcore energy from the Comeback Kid camp, where you can almost taste the passion and aggression in the air. It also adds versatility so the album has an edgier side and a more melodic counterpart to act as a balance.

Still, album highlight "Decade" goes to prove that the more melodic that After The Fall can be, while still incorporating their hardcore influences, that's where their strengths lie as songwriters.

Download: Unkind, Tilburg, Cathedral, Decade
For the fans of: Strike Anywhere, A Wilhelm Scream, Belvedere
Listen: Facebook

Release date 19.03.2013
Paper + Plastick / Disconnect Disconnect Records

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