Heavy, grungy, dynamic and reflective are just a few words to describe the Waterville rock band AfterBlack. Together only since 2012, they have managed to gather a lineup of musicians who play like they have been collaborating for much longer.

Their new five-song CD, “Schismogenesis,” is a really good representation of their sound as a whole. Demonstrating an ability to roll from a blistering guitar track to a melodic ballad complete with acoustic strummy guitar, they prove their flexibility and range.

The band makes a noble entrance with the first track, “Swim.” Mighty guitars steal the airwaves here and are joined by drums and bass in staggered fashion, and eventually the guitars are tempered back, leaving space for the vocal to enter.

In this way, the band displays its ability to evolve in one song. They are not stagnant, and they prove to be heavy and melodic all at once.

The second track, “Becoming Undone,” charges at the listener, mocking its subject matter in lyric: “You say you want a revolution/but it takes more than just solution/you said it all you said it best/too bad you are just like the rest.” This is where they shine in reflection and prove their songs are not just loud and raunchy, but reveal a message as well.

“Schismogenesis,” the third track, has a more patient groove. Here are some catchy yet simple, heavy guitar riffs that remind the listener the band is still wading in vigorous rock waves. The vocals are layered here with a subtle harmony that really works well and harkens back to the sounds of bands like Alice in Chains or Mad Season.


“Roadsong” changes things up with a pleasant, slowly paced acoustic guitar, then highlights vocalist Lucas Cates’ contribution to the band: a richly toned, honest voice that’s just a touch unrefined and unsure at times, but does not try too hard to be something it is not. And at the same time, it matches the heaviness and thoughtfulness of the band’s overall sound.

AfterBlack closes out the CD with a hard-hitting, high octane track, “See the Fire,” that does not slow down for the two minutes and 38 seconds it makes itself known in the collection.

Nicely played, AB, you’ve got a formula down that works. By keeping it fresh, formidable and reflective, you guys will keep your audience engaged and inspired, even long after their eardrums recover from your oxymoronic assaulting melodious sound.

Kristin DiCara McClellan is a Portland freelance writer.

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