Artist: The Afterimage
Even outside of the context of religion, chances are that if you’re reading this, you’re at least loosely familiar with the biblical adage of Adam and Eve. Now, as this isn’t meant to be a religious discussion, I’m going to cut right to the point—even if you aren’t religious, you probably have a conception of what Eve must have looked like. Hell, you don’t become the topic of one of the most well-known origin stories of all time if you aren’t jaw-droppingly stunning, right? In my mind, at least, Eve must have been what I believe the kids commonly refer to as a dime.
And that’s exactly what The Afterimage have crafted with their version of Eve—that is to say, their debut record. A flawless experience from start to finish; immersive, intelligent, intricate and immolating all in one. In short: a dime.
Eve is a masterful display of progressive metalcore that stands to redefine the way the listener perceives the entire genre. Instrumentally impeccable, aggravated and yet stunningly beautiful all in one, The Afterimage have kept the heavy music community in wait for what feels like forever, and, damn, the wait was worth it and then some. The band’s debut full length is nothing short of perfection on all fronts, as both veterans and newcomers to the genre will undoubtedly agree.
From the whimsical, sing-a-long nature of the album introductory track, “Aquamarine,” through the lead single “Cerulean,” “Secrets” and even more, the instrumentation throughout Eve is nothing short of breathtaking. One part dizzyingly intricate, one part immolating and intense, and pervasively immersive and attention-grabbing, The Afterimage take their sporadic, somewhat-spastic spin on progressive metalcore and kick it into overdrive. “Cerulean” is but a mere taste of percussionist Rob Zalischi dominates Eve from start to finish—with songs like “Wrath” and “Violator” other awesome examples of his technical prowess and ability to oscillate from a onslaught of furious footwork and sharp, slicing snare thwacks to ethereal, calming melody. Meanwhile, bassist Dallas Bricker supports guitarists Liam Beeson and Michael Valeri on their quest to create some of the most beautiful-yet-brutalizing leads and breakdowns progressive heavy music has seen to date. Bricker’s thick bass tone adds beef and heft, anchoring Zalischi’s percussion to the divergent and rambunctious riffs, leads and grooves crafted by Beeson and Valeri, especially on “Wrath” and “Secrets,” but also on “Floodgates” and…well, really every track that Eve has to offer. Where the band are dazzling and technical, they are consistent, creating track after track that are—what I believe the cool kids call these days—bangers; but more than they are technical and consistent, they are emotional. Even the grooves and riffs let loose by the duo Beeson and Valeri, the percussion from Zalischi—all of it—reeks of pure feeling; beyond the otherwise excellent vocals (more to come on that), the band as a whole are able to write complex, crushing music that packs an emotionally poignant punch that hits just as hard.
The Afterimage’s tenure as a band has seen them experiment with a variety of vocal styles—each of them good, but each of them different—and Eve is the culmination of their dabbling in immeasurable varieties of cleanly sung and harshly belted styles both. Frontman Kyle Anterson, much as the band’s instrumentalists do, brings an unquestionable emotional intensity to Eve and just about every track he unleashes, from the short-but-sweet intro, through “Wrath” and “Cerulean” and on many more. Blending a beautiful singing voice with immense range when it comes to screams and bellows, Anderson is a multifaceted monster, vocally, and adds just one more nigh-infallible element to The Afterimage’s lofty resume. Where many tracks witness a balanced blend of his many styles, the back-half of Eve, especially following “Eve,” sees Anderson at his most aggressive, and, for lack of a better term, it’s something else. I could go on and on about Anderson’s vocal and lyrical talent, but the punchline is that it speaks for itself (quite literally), and is something that is better experienced than told about.
The Afterimage have kept the heavy music community waiting for some time, but this is one instance wherein the wait was most certainly worth it. Every second of Eve is memorable, and it stands as an unquestionable contender for one of progressive metalcore’s finest offerings in recent years, if not ever. Heavy, groovy, atmospheric, ethereal—all around beautiful—Eve is a record that, without a doubt will define not only heavy music’s top album contenders for 2018, but the genre in which stands for years to come.
For Fans Of: Currents, Oceans Ate Alaska, Volumes,
By: Connor Welsh