In but Not Of

Long Island, New York’s Afterbirth return with their third album In but Not Of, and the band has shifted from Unique Leader Records to Willowtip, another reputable, but smaller record label.  The album cover, once again done by guitarist mastermind, Cody Drasser, is eye-catching, and ties in with their previous ones.  I am not a fan of album covers that are devoid of a band logo and Afterbirth’s classic band logo does not adorn this album cover, I know, I know, it’s’s more subjective than anything else I suppose, but I know some agree with me, while others don’t give AF.  Worth mentioning is the band has remained intact, for their third consecutive release, with David Case on bass, Keith Harris on drums and Will “Don’t Slap Me in the Face Again Chris Rock” Smith, all being tied together with Cody’s signature and strange guitar riff patterns.

I have reviewed the band’s previous albums The Time Traveler’s Dilemma, and Four Dimensional Flesh, as well as their 2014 demo and the Foeticidal Embryo Harvestation demo compilation, which I did liners for.  Also played many shows with the band years ago, when I was in Internal Bleeding and befriending the band all those years ago…AND, also have a guest singing spot on “Timeless Formless”, off The Time Traveler’s Dilemma, owning several pieces of merch…I think it’s safe to say I kinda know what the hell I am talking about when it comes to this special band.

I’ll briefly mention this because some fans come in and out of the music scene and if this is the first time they’ve heard Afterbirth, since their demo days, they could be slightly miffed.  Afterbirth started in the early 90’s and played a brutal form of NYDM..nothing fancy schmancy, just rip-your-face-apart death metal.  Their 2014 return demo, with classic original vocalist Matt Duncan (RIP Metal brother and friend), continued that trend.  As the band continued to mold their craft and Will entered as the new vocalist, the band with the release of the debut album, combined atmospheric, progressive, and technical musical aspects to their already brutal style.  The gelling of these genres was seamless and expansive.

With almost the exact run time of their previous album, In but Not Of, at 35 minutes contains 11 tracks, with “Tightening the Screws”, literally blasting right the fuck outta the starting gates.  At under two minutes, the song has a nice short drum roll which goes into a scorching blast with Will vomiting his putrid filthy gurgles all over the place.  The song has creative riffs, which are memorable and the scream Will lets loose is excellent as his vocals go from gurgles to mid-range 90’s death metal vocals and some screams – varied as usual.

Before you can say I need to order “Moons Over My Hammy” the song ends and “Devils with Dead Eyes” starts with a nice 90’s era death metal pacing, before the blasting comes in and the main guitar riff which goes over the drum rolls is excellent.  The guitar solos/harmonies at the 1.45 section are all excellent and piped in a little louder in the mix, for dramatic effect.  These are those progressive technical elements I mentioned earlier and the song gets into a slower very ethereal atmosphere..almost dreamlike modern-day Cynic-sounding part, before returning to the blasting.  This song owns from beginning to end.

“Vomit on Humanity” is up next and is re-recorded from the 2014 demo.  Will emulates Matt Duncan’s gurgles perfectly and the song stays true to the original, even the bass guitar isolated moments, early on.  With the main and extremely catchy guitar riff and some monstrous blasts, this is still one of the best songs Afterbirth has written and needs to be in their live set.  The title track is the longest song at five minutes and begins very progressive in nature…again think Cynic…it’s very soothing, relaxing, and experimental and once the guitar comes in more, it’s just excellent.  There are very few vocals on this song.  When they do come in they punch hard.

In but Not Of is yet another excellent album from Afterbirth.  I am hoping that being on a smaller label now they are a little bit of the bigger fish in a small pond analogy as opposed to small fish in a big pond.  Perhaps, Willowtip can get the band on a tour or two.  I say this because since coming back to the scene, Afterbirth has increased in popularity and many of the reviews of their previous albums, outside of my positive ones, have been very gleaming.  The production on this album is well done and I have listened to this album, probably 25 times already on various devices, and systems to absorb all that is going on with the various vocals and instrumentation.  Yeah, this is a Buy or Die, of the highest order!

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
October 24th, 2023


  1. Commented by: Pathos Productions

    Alex Eckman-Lawn the sickest cover artist

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