If Propagandhi, A Wilhelm Scream and Strike Anywhere fell into a blender, Albany, NY’s After The Fall would be the delicious sludge that was produced. “Unkind”, the band’s fourth full length release, finds them a four member band again after releasing the excellent Eradication as a three piece.
After The Fall has never reinvented the wheel. Sometimes the most important aspects of art aren’t found in the invention, but in the refinement. Long before a dead horse finds it’s way into a Whopper, it has the potential to win a lot of races. It’s fortunate, then, this album is fast. The drums are consistently fast and interactive. As a four piece, there are far more guitar fills, such as in “Disunion”. There’s an overall feeling of unity and cohesiveness in the music that’s necessary to pull off the faster, more technical punk rock.
As on past albums, disillusion and anger are recurring themes in the lyrics, as well as new themes such as failed relationships due to the strain of being a touring musician: “I know we’re not getting younger, and I tried to let you go/I know things weren’t getting better and you tried to let me know/ That I am who I am, and will always be/one to continue to do what I like and like what I do”. One of the most appealing characteristics of this band to me has always been that the lyrics are raw, genuine and relateable. I feel an angry but cathartic vibe to “Unkind” as opposed to what to me was an angry, bitter feel on Eradication.
These guys have been a steadfast mainstay of the punk scene for over a decade. If you’re already a fan, you’ll find After The Fall’s Paper + Plastick debut to be a welcome addition to their legacy of recorded material. If you’re new to these guys, it will stand on it’s own as a great starting point. Either way, “Unkind” is entirely worth owning.