It's always hard to review a band after the death of a key member. There is a sense of tragedy that hovers over the music - regardless of where it falls in the traditional canon. There is something distinctly crushing then about the new After The Burial - a band who lost their guitarist, the masterful Justin Lowe to mental illness halfway through the record process of their new record Dig Deep. Despite this - the band has decided to carry on and put out some of their best and most relevant music to date.
On Dig Deep many of the traditional After The Burial paradigms stay in place, and the record continues the legacy of the Sumerian-core sound. That being said - the band also uses this album as an opportunity to go far beyond previous limitations. Their first album working with a producer throughout, we hear the band using Will Putney's expertise to help create a record that is more diverse than previous releases and features some of the bands most fascinating melodies to date. Meanwhile, the squirrelly riffs, oft contrasted with djent-esque rhythm sections help to make Dig Deep an interesting exploration in the fusion of death metal and progressive music.
Now as we dig in and have to face the future of a Justin-less future the band has proven that even in his last real artistic statement he was a genius. Yet Dig Deep hints at much greater things to come - it is an impressive step forward for the band and shows us that their decision to carry on was an excellent one. It means that After The Burial are going to have to take their game to the next level and carry on through the storm - but that's okay, because in the end, it is albums like this one that make life worth living.
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