After the Fall - Eradication (Cover Artwork)

After the Fall

Eradication (2010)

Mightier Than Sword

A lot of bands sound like other bands, but many of those bands don't feel like the bands that they sound like. If you're over the age of 23 and reading this review, get happy, because After the Fall has not only elements of the bands you grew up loving, but the same type of feeling. If you're under said age of 23, get happier, because you're about to get introduced to all that is vital and versatile about modern-day punk. Take pieces of Propagandhi, Descendents and Strongarm--amongst many others in that vein--and let them breed with elements of late '90s pop-punk (as well as the attitude of street punk), and you get After the Fall. And you get it like a smack-in-the-face wake-up call.

Over the course of their evolution (see reviews for Everything, Fort Orange and Collar City) the band's sound has congealed. On their last full-length, Fort Orange, there was more separation between the post-hardcore-sounding songs and the pop-punk-sounding songs. Then came the Collar City EP, which raised the bar for angular, unapologetic thrash. On Eradication, the melody, the shredding, the hooks and the pure crushing-ness of AtF are all rolled into one, and from the first moment of the record to the last, it never lets up. Also, keep in mind that Bill Stevenson and Jason Livermore's mixing and mastering techniques on the record add the punch that knocks it out of the park.

The album kicks off with "Soldiers," an anti-authoritarian march with heavy groove that goes from 0 to 60 with little notice. Lyrics like, "Since the day that we were born / we all always have been forced / to believe what we were told / what they were taught before us... IIIIIIIt's...not...your...fault!" set the stage for things to come. The band sounds like it's at the end of its rope. The attitude is still there six tracks in on "Throgs Neck," a song about the singer, Mike Moak, traveling three hours through the night to see his girlfriend. Sounds lame, I know, but lyrics like, "I have work tomorrow but that doesn't matter anymore / Maybe I'll get fired after going in but I could give a shit," roughen up the edges. Then there's "Lifer" and "Cents Less," which should both be self-explanatory. Also, definitely check out "Authoritarian," the record's second-to-last track, and fully come to the realization that most bands playing punk today will never even dream of playing it like AtF.

Admittedly, though, this is not a perfect record. Some of the lyrics may come off as a bit un-poetic, but that's all depending on how you look at it. Plenty of bands sound poetic, but barely stand behind a word they say. With AtF, you may question the lyrical aesthetic, but there's no mistaking the passion.

Get into this.