Aghast - Afterlife Crisis
Self-released
Death Metal
4 songs (19:37)
Release year: 2009
Reviewed by Goat

The second EP release from London-based Deathsters Aghast that I’ve had the pleasure of wrapping my ears around continues, surprise surprise, down a similar path to their rather excellent A Wolf In The Kingdom Of Heaven EP. Yet whilst Afterlife Crisis may be closer to the -core elements in the band’s sound than before, this is by no means to Aghast’s detriment; far from it. The songs here are noticeably refined, less chaotic, less frenzied in the mixture of genres that they throw at the listener. Opening with a full-frontal Death Metal attack in the form of Bang To Rights, the breakdowns are perfectly incorporated and the band haven’t suffered a reduction in heaviness at all since dropping a guitarist.

In fact, the thick, soupy production utilised here gives their Suffocation-on-acid sound a real presence, the variety still present and correct without detracting one iota from the headbanging groove. Baron’s still a maniac on drums, perfectly complementing Christiaan’s guitar attack and Dangerous’ bass rumble with his frenzied battering, Anger’s vocals equally as insane... all clearly acting as a razor-sharp unit, a unit that gets better the more you listen. The Gojira-esque opening groove of It’s Your Funeral mixes with some distinctly old-school Melodeath influences before the band completely mess with your head by adding blink-and-you’ll-miss-them hip-hop scratchings in a spiralling, tumbling breakdown that comes out at the bottom with solemn clean vocals that could well have come from your average metalcore band of the week, but they are perfectly placed and completely ‘work’ within the band’s open-minded universe.

Things just get even more complex on Am I To Have Wings Or Become Dust? as complex arrangements prove there’s deep thought behind it all. I know I’m hardly Deathcore’s biggest fan, but if a tenth of the bands involved in that genre showed half as much enthusiasm or skill as Aghast do here then I’d be shouting its name from the rooftops. The genre staples become marks of genius in Aghast’s hands, never failing to sound exciting, the easiest comparison Deicide rather than anyone else. A rabid closer in the form of A Wolf In The Kingdom Of Heaven puts the finishing stamp on one of the best EPs I’ve heard since Aghast’s last.

Seriously, the only complaint I have against Afterlife Crisis is a guitar solo being mixed a bit too loud – some may complain about the Deathcore influence increasing, but Aghast make it their own rather than allowing it to take control, not so much jumping on the bandwagon as building their own form of transport. The band’s base Death Metal sound is undeniable, and with the experimental elements being ever more tightly-woven, all that’s left is for a label to give the band a chance and allow their killer songwriting skills to form an entire album of this sort of thing – and when that happens, I have no doubt at all that Aghast will be close indeed to taking the crown of UKDM. Until then, Afterlife Crisis is currently available to listen to in full on the band’s MySpace page, and is more than worth the time of Death Metallers of all shapes and sizes.

MySpace
Killing Songs :
Bang To Rights, It’s Your Funeral, Am I To Have Wings Or Become Dust?, A Wolf In The Kingdom Of Heaven
Goat quoted no quote
Other albums by Aghast that we have reviewed:
Aghast - A Wolf In The Kingdom Of Heaven reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
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