After Earth – The Rarity Of Reason Review

There have been a few revivalist bands of late, but only a handful of newer melodic death metal bands have come close to matching the intensity of the earlier releases from In Flames, Dark Tranquillity, Soilwork, Nightrage, and the like. With The Rarity of Reason, Sweden’s After Earth are now among that handful.

The three more immediately noticeable features here are the (1) not infrequent use of keys, (2) muscular riffs, and (3) clear production. Not to keep drawing on the cheap comparisons, but this feels, despite the band’s relative distance from the city, very mid-period Gothenburg at times. There was a unique hypnotism to the riffs then that flirted in the faintest and most addictive of ways with commercialism. You’ve heard variants of that pummeling riff, to be sure, but it doesn’t make it any less satisfying. Such is the case with The Rarity of Reason. That it was produced by Fredrik Nordstrom should surprise no one.

The album begins, curiously enough, with an extended synth sequence that, in hindsight, sounds a bit misleading. At the very least, it belies the aggressiveness of what follows at the 1:15 mark. Regardless, the transition from those synths to the first real riff hits hard and doesn’t sound all that dissimilar from something you’d find on The Halo Effect debut. It certainly kicks things off properly.

Release date: August 18, 2023. Label: Independent / Bandcamp
Though After Earth largely embrace a more mid-tempo sound, there are moments, such as during the beginning of “Through Hidden Space” or “Legions,” when the band hits the big red button. That willingness to tinker with the dynamics, which doesn’t seem as common amongst their peers, gives After Earth an unexpected edge. Mileage varies, of course, but generally speaking, the speedier songs are the more compelling of the album’s eight tracks.

The Rarity of Reason is a promising debut, and a stellar release in its own right. The musical equivalent of a teenager skipping college to go straight to the pros, there’s a surprising amount of flash here from a band still in its relative infancy. Yet, to After Earth’s credit, the slickness doesn’t detract from the otherwise punchy riffs. Rather, the two coalesce in a way that makes me excited about the prospect of round two.

Posted by Chris C

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