After Earth – The Rarity of Reason
Release Date: 18/08/23
Running Time: 43:21
Review by Oli Gonzalez
Sweden. Nordic country based in Northern Europe. A nation that has spawned countless talented metal acts over the years, including In Flames, Scar Symmetry, and Orbit Culture. Bands that are cited as influences for today’s artist in review, After Earth. The band hailing from Skövde, Västra Götaland, Sweden, first hit the stage in 2019 before the global shutdown of 2020 halted their progress. With a small string of releases (which included an EP), I’m excited to see what this, their debut full length album holds. Especially considering that the band have worked with legendary producer Fredrik Nordström.
The album kicks off with ‘The Rarity Of Reason’, the album’s title track. I particularly enjoyed the industrial synth style introduction to this song. There are strong shades of In Flames here, especially in their more modern sound. One minute and 20 seconds in the rest of the band joins in, in one solid wall of melodic death metal sound. Nice! Then I hear Marcus’ vocals for the very first time. He sounds like a demon possessed! Harsh, guttural, yet still retaining clarity in the words chosen. I did wonder if it was actually Amon Amarth’s Johan Hegg at one point! The guitars are consistently crushing and sharp, yet still retaining an aesthetic melodic quality. Grade A production there!
This crushing melodic guitar assault continues into the second track, ‘Prometheus’. We also have the addition of a more cohesive rhythm unit, as well as half beats from the drums. The intensity is certainly not lost here. It picks up even further for ‘Through Hidden Space’, which is the fastest song on the album up until now. Check out the absolute scorcher of a guitar solo on this song too, and you’ll thank me later! Well, I thought that was good, the solo on ‘Legions’ is even better and one of the highlights of the whole album. This happens when you prioritise tone and raw human emotion over needless noodling with fancy bells and whistles. Instead, making every strike of the fretboard mean something. I began to appreciate not only Marcus’ sublime vocal tone and voice, but also his choice of lyrics and the catchy vocal hooks. Hooks that I’m sure will be planted deep into my subconscious now!
No doubt, an excellent start. However, things do sadly begin to go downhill in the next few songs. That’s not to say that the individual songs are bad. Absolutely not. But rather in the context of the whole album, I feel like things are a little stale. I’m not seeing much variety in composition. It feels like ideas are perhaps being spread a little too thin. Every song should be unique and have a different feel, a USP, but I’m having difficulty in finding this. I was wondering how the band could address this in the future. However, the answer is held with the album’s final song.
Much like the opening song, ‘I Am What Remains’ also includes an extended instrumental introduction. Not quite as industrial this time, but rather more ominous, almost like the soundtrack to a horror movie. This effect is enhanced with the subtle introduction of orchestral strings. We hear some subtle black metal influences too, especially with the guitarist’s choice of scales and the tremolo picked patterns. However, this isn’t the most crucial thing. For me, there’s a correlation
between this song being both the longest, and strongest song on the record. Why is this important? The compositional elements have ample time to develop and progress more naturally, instead of taking the scattergun approach in shorter songs. Consequently, I’d love to see After Earth focus on quality rather than quantity or the next record. Focusing on maybe 6 longer songs that are built around the industrial and other synth elements they show so much promise in deploying, as well as the undisputed talent in both guitarists and the band’s phenomenal vocalist. Most crucially, giving their compositional ideas time to bed in and to progress naturally. After all, great things should never be rushed.
Overall, “The Rarity of Reason” is an encouraging and promising release, demonstrating glimpses of individual musical brilliance within the band’s ranks. With some subtle compositional refinement, After Earth certainly have the potential to progress much further as a band and uphold the fierce reputation of their nation’s fierce pride for its music.
01) The Rarity Of Reason
03) Through Hidden Space
05) Human Slave Machine
06). Undermine My Suffocation
07) Anguish to Dust
08) I Am What Remains
Marcus Rydstedt – Vocals
Anton Vehkaperä – Drums
Olof Öman – Bass
Marcelo Vargas Jofré – Guitars
Jonathan Ahlin – Live guitarist
Ludvig Andersson – Live guitarist