Released: 2009, Self-released
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
Mike Browning´s (Nocturnus, ex-Acheron, ex-Incubus, ex-Morbid Angel, etc) After Death is back! It´s been 3 long years since these masters of occult and mysticism in After Death visited to the studio last time – and that was when the band recorded their 3rd 4-track demo, SECRET LORDS OF THE STAR CHAMBER BELOW.
With the band´s 4th recording, it is easy to hear that After Death has returned even more to the same evil, aggressive and straightforward sound that Mike had with his days with Nocturnus, which I find a great thing actually. And not only this latest recording of theirs is the most mature yet best release from After Death thus far song-wise, but production-wise, too. This sounds definitely much more than just a demo recording.
The demo starts off with “Devourer of Souls”, and the Nocturnus vibe comes along right away after an eerie yet beautiful beginning (the riffs, the leads, how the song is actually structured with all those familiar Nocturnus rhythms and stuff). And what the best, the song has this tendency to sound catchy and heavy as fuck. Great song.
The 2nd song off this recording, named “christWas” is basically a straight Nocturnus rip-off, but in the good sense of the word. It´s a mostly fast-based song, with some killer leads churned out for it by both guitarist Demian and Belial - and I am sure the Nocturnus fans will associate this song somewhat easily with some of the material Mike recorded during the times with Nocturnus´ THE KEY album. In fact, “christWas” could be that one leftover song Nocturnus left out from THE KEY album for being a teeny-weeny bit too experimental compared to the rest of the songs on the album. “christWas” is another killer song from After Death anyway, making a real great promise for all of us to wait the band´s debut full-length album.
“Caduceus Strand” is another new, neck-ripping and mid-paced shredder from the After Death camp, with wicked atmosphere, some beautiful leads in it and naturally Mike´s very distinct vocals giving it a necessary evil touch to be recognized as one of Mike´s new-born babies.
“Lords of The Black Path”, that is a re-recorded version from the band´s SECRET LORDS OF THE STAR CHAMBER BELOW 2006 demo, is not much different compared to the original version of this song, having an acoustic guitar added to the beginning of the song, some extra solo stuff played in - and overall being played a bit faster than the original version of the same song. Otherwise there´s not much difference here, but what a monster song it is actually, simply oozing pure evilness. “Lords…” has always been one of my favorite songs from After Death, and I don´t wonder at all why they decided to have another shot at this particular song on the newest effort of theirs again.
With the quality songs like After Death have recorded for this 4-song promotional demo, it´s a real mystery to me why they still haven´t been snapped by any label. C´mon label owners – wake up now! Or, actually of course I understand that because labels are only hunting for trendy, uninspired, mainstream sounding shitty bands under their wings – and After Death represents strong originality and uniqueness in true sense of these words. No label wants a band that sounds too different from the rest of the pack, which is a screaming shame.
After Death wants you anyway, so be my guest and check them out if you can appreciate at least a fistful of originality in your daily dose of quality metal music.