After the Burial – Wolves Within
After the Burial's fourth LP may be crammed with sinister riffs and guttural growls, but like past efforts, the production is slick: every guitar slam and tom-tom beat shines through the mix like a diamond cutting through a bloody battlefield. It's an odd juxtaposition that nevertheless suits the band's proficient playing style.
The derivative “djent” influence still dominates: Pennyweight is a song Meshuggah never wrote but might as well have, whereas Disconnect follows up low-end chugs with calculated melancholy in its outro in a predictable fashion. Even the more affecting moments on Wolves Within come off as robotic rather than sincere; its personnel sound like a talented-yet-uninspired band going through the motions.
Other progressive metal acts like Between the Buried and Me and Protest the Hero have proven that they can expand beyond their core formula whilst still sticking to certain conventions. Unfortunately, After the Burial are all too content to simply stick to what they know. [Ross Watson]