After The Fall

Dedication

Written by: PP on 17/10/2015 16:29:13

Five albums down and After The Fall keep on honing their melodic hardcore/punk expression to the point that "Dedication" is arguably their best release yet. The band's signature sound is still dominantly present: lightning speed, almost metallic hardcore punk laced with technical leads, just as we remember them from "Fort Orange" and especially 2013's explosive release "Unkind". But what they've done with "Dedication" is to add a boatload of melody to the extent that they now stand at a perfect midpoint between the technical melodic hardcore of A Wilhelm Scream and the more melodic, though still raw and unpolished punk rock of No Trigger. The result is nothing short of awe-inspiring, especially if you've been looking for a release that's a) ridiculously fast, b) impressively tight, and c) loaded with emotionally-charged aggression.

It's often said that musicians write their best material when they're forced to deal with extremely difficult issues in their life, whether it be the dismantling of a lengthy relationship, a loss of a loved one, or a socio-political theme that radically affects us all. Perhaps that is why "Dedication" stands far and above anything else After The Fall have released thus far, because as the title suggests, the entire album is dedicated to their ex-bassist Brian J. Peters, who passed away at just 28 years old in October 2013. Consequently, the lyrical universe is extremely personal as all songs deal with the death and the flurry of feelings and mourning related to his passing since then. Yet the songs are written from an accessible perspective where a listener could easily relate to a passing of a close relative in their own lies.

"Lived Fast", which has a Propagandhi feel to it, is a good example, dealing with the pain felt by the band in a touching manner: "You are the reason this band exists, you were the glue to our friendship, ride or die, stick together, always try to stay young forever", whereas "Twenty Nine" goes even deeper:

"Close your eyes and go to sleep forever. You will never wake up again. I hope that you're at peace and not terrified of what comes next for you my friend. It's so fucked up this is the end for you."

The personal connection present in all songs is chilling. Opener "Reflection", which channels early Title Fight material from back when they played similarly relentless technical hardcore punk on "The Last Thing You Ever Forget", is explosive and sets the tone of the record straight away with its up close and personal lyricism: "You meant a world to us and we'll miss you so fucking much. I will always remember.".

Yet the deeply emotional lyricism isn't all there is to the album. All songs are delivered with a precise, tight execution that makes most punk bands sound loose in comparison. The technical riffs are astounding, especially when considering the ridiculous speed they are played with. And best of all? The band have finally cracked the formula on how to make an infectiously catchy chorus, so almost every song on "Dedication" has something to sing along to. Together, all these facts make the album one of the best punk releases in 2015. Expect to see this record on many end-of-year lists come December.

8

Download: Somehow, Lived Fast, Reflection, Condolences, Elisa
For the fans of: A Wilhelm Scream, Belvedere, No Trigger
Listen: Facebook

Release date 12.05.2015
Bridge 9

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