The Time Traveler’s Dilemma

Long Island, New York’s long running Afterbirth had a re-birth 4 years ago.  Guitarist, Cody Drasser was like ‘OK, let’s get this shit going and finally get our debut album out’.  You see, Afterbirth began in the 90’s and while I was in Internal Bleeding we played shows with them and they were always great live and great friends.

Their ’94 demo Psychopathic Embryotomy is one of the best brutal death metal demos still to this day.  The band disbanded in ’95 and came around the corner in 2013 with Pathos Productions putting out the great Foeticidal Embryo Harvestation comp compiling all of their material.I was honored for Cody to ask me to write the liner notes and it really is a special release-get your ass over to Pathos now and order it!  Rounding out the band with long time drummer Keith Harris and bassist David Case the band brought in former Afterbirth vocalist Matt Duncan (RIP) and the band layed down the 2014 ep, Maggots in Her Smile.  A ferocious 4 song ep that showed Afterbirth could compete with today’s bands, but offering some new elements to the mix.  The band ousted Matt and unfortunately Matt took his own life last year and it is still an extremely sad and unfortunate thing to have happened.  Afterbirth recruited Artificial Brain’s vocalist, Will Smith and last summer Cody asked if I was interested in guesting on their yet to be recorded debut and I was humbled beyond belief and it was a no-brainer yes for Cody, one of the most stand-up guys I’ve known in the industry.  OK..whew enough of the blathering and get onto the review, Frank.

Whether it stays that way, remains to be seen, as there are many more releases left for 2017, however The Time Traveler’s Dilemma is the best death metal release of 2017, in my opinion.  Opening with “Eternal Return” with some outstanding drum work we are experiencing a new and improved Afterbirth!!  The brutality is there, no question, however the addition of the progressive elements, adds some Gorguts influence and a bit of Atheist and goddammit-this is off the hook.  Some killer gurgling belches from Will and the bass guitar work is phenomenal and the production from Full Force Studios is magnificent.  Next up is a bit of a reworking of “Maggots in Her Smile” from the 2014 ep and the song destroys.  Sounds even better and the 2 minute mark has some extraordinary bass guitar work which goes on for over 45 seconds.  Perfect mix to bring this much overlooked instrument, in brutal death metal, into the recording.  Cody’s riffs are just breathing new life into the band and the song is really catchy.  The isolated guitar riff at the 3.25 mark and then Will coming in berating us all with his vocals and the song going into a monster break down is the proverbial Holy Shit moment!!!!

“Multiverse Dementia” has a brilliant opening with Will’s gurgles and the mid-paced part with the double bass and then drum rolls are just vicious.  The 50 second beat has a really progressive/jazzy element to it and it’s fantastic, before breaking into a classic 90’s beat then boom, right into the damn blast.  That’s how you get it done, son!!  More progressive moments abound and the tune gets into some spacey elements and then back into more blasts, that are extremely fast!  I get my ass into gear on “Timeless Formless”, at 6 minutes it’s the longest track on the album.  Opening with a very non-traditional death metal opening before erupting into monstrous stop/start blasts and Will truly showing off his vocal ranges and then going into a mid-paced moment is really cool.  The song has everything: brutality, melody, progressive technicality and monster slams to engulf your neighborhood, your dog, your fish tank and the little grocery store, right behind the corner of the local pizzeria.  I come in singing with Will at the 4.54 mark varying tones to his gurgles and then ending my tones with inhales and holding out a long inhale growl as the tune fades out.Don’t sneeze and blow your head off, because you may miss “Devouring the Hungry Ghost”.  Punishing!!  Outstanding guitar work and some jamming going on at the 2.15 mark, really cool.  The song has blasts, slams, technical elements without getting noodly, doodly and really no point in going over anymore songs.  Indiemerch has a lot of package deals for you to spend your cash on and the album cover is extraordinary.

The Time Traveler’s Dilemma is truly a spectacular album from start to finish and Cody and the rest of Afterbirth have to be proud of this record.  It shows off the growth and maturity of the band and understanding all the aspects of what is important in making not only a great album, but individual great songs which encompass the entire album.  There is no filler, only killer here and by God, if there is a release out there ready to challenge this sucker for the top spot, this year, just try and bring it.  Buy or Die by “Drills and Needles”!!

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
August 22nd, 2017


  1. Commented by: bast

    Thank you for the rec, this year quality death metal is flowing like a river of lava.

  2. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    haha, you reviewed an album you guested on? that’s great.

  3. Commented by: F.Rini

    Absolutely Nick. I’ve known the band for over 20 years and one of their most die-hard supporters. Cody is a dear friend and has been through a lot with getting the band back up and running again. Frank

  4. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    Just so you know, I was in no way picking on you for that, i think it’s great.

  5. Commented by: F.Rini

    I thought nothing of it, Nick \m/

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