If you cast your mind back to last year you will remember that I was quite harsh with these Belfast chaps regarding the performance turned in on their ‘SS Deity’ demo. A year and a lot more gigs later the band have bounced back with their sophomore effort, “To Die or to Sieze”, and things have definitely improved. In terms of production this one is crystal clear, especially with regard to the drums; but, ironically, it’s this clarity that is also the bands biggest stumbling block.
Whereas “SS Deity” was undefined enough to cover up alot of mistakes that were probably in there, this one shows them all off, with particular respect to timing and general tightness. While the music is a definite progression, there still remains a certan slackness in execution that characterised their first effort. Because the drums are very clear, every mis-timing is acute.
Musically however there is much to enjoy, particularly the huge 9 minute tome “Sands of Time”. The mid section of this track, and the ending of “Wartorn” show a musical talent that rises above the loose playing; they’ve really managed to create a real atmosphere on these two sections and I feel that as the band develop this will more and more become their trademark. At least I hope it does.
The songs slow down and breathe, letting some nice interplay between bass and guitar create some real moods. Aftermath are a band on the up. Theyre not quite there yet; every aspect of the playing needs improved. But they do have some great ideas (and increasingly more mature ones, I might add) that lift them above the standard. The clean intro of closer “The Enemy Within” is another such example. I know this is all very harsh, but I wouldnt be so blunt if I didnt think they’ll pull it off sooner or later and that they have it in them to push just a bit harder.
The relatively median mark awarded is more due to the fact that a week or two longer in practice would have sharpened things up to the necessary level; but the actual music in here has much to recommend, and certainly is a grower moreso than an instant hit – the sign of true musical worth in my book. They are getting consistently better, and I feel that if they keep up the gigging then their next will be where it all clicks.
Earl Grey ::: 15/11/02