A couple of albums the Colorado-based Blasting Room Studios / practical melodic punk warehouse has produced the last few years: The Sufferer and the Witness; The Lemonheads; Canyoneer; Everything; Wake the Dead; Ruiner.
Yeah, After the Fall hardly have even the webzine notoriety of the other bands in that list, but they were financially well enough to pony up the money and lucky enough to land some time to record inside the punk palace and consequently get, basically, the best and most appropriate-sounding recording a band their size can get. Yep, that's right, After the Fall play the type of technically proficient, melodic punk rock anchored by aging "vets" like Bigwig and Strike Anywhere and mastered by their peers in No Trigger.
However, with all these beautiful, perfect pieces in place, After the Fall still manage to mangle the corners and apathetically avoid finishing the puzzle altogether. Despite its pleasing sound, Everything is a clusterfucked collection of fragmented tunes and pointless instrumental tracks. I'll give the band slight credit for leaving behind the safety of efficient, 2:30 punk rock punches, but after the subtraction of six 30-second-ish songs, we're only left with seven fully written tracks, and two of those get dragged out to over four minutes apiece -- "Make Music Not War" knocks off some uplifting gang chants and fast tempos, but its attempted collapse/buildup that occurs in the bridge really only dulls the momentum that was working fine to that point. The other five tracks, save for the secret songs going on at the end, range around the 2-minute mark and are completely too abrupt to get into.
One particularly hilarious part of Everything, however, is a distorted riff that materializes in the last minute of "Fallage;" it's nearly the same exact fucking riff that opens Rise Against's "Ready to Fall." I guess Bill Stevenson liked it so much he went ahead and reused it (After the Fall recorded in November 2005, Rise Against in early 2006). Hopefully After the Fall isn't too bitter about it.
Everything is hardly what its title promises. Merely plagued by horribly awkward songwriting, we're left only with a great style and lots of cool moments (a bit in "Stop Screaming," for one). Reading into all of Everything's aspects you could be pretty disappointed with the actual content; a cursory glance of the cover art serves as an appropriate preview, though.
Four More Years