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Aftertayst - "Self Execution" (CD)

Aftertayst - "Self Execution" CD cover image

"Self Execution" track listing:

1. Moral Decay
2. Why
3. Never Fear
4. Rage
5. The Urge
6. Creature
7. Bar Fight
8. Cold Chill
9. Welcome To Life
10. Break Neck Pace
11. Twisted

Reviewed by on April 6, 2009

"Several songs toward the end of the album seem like exercises in finding out how many times one instrument can drown out another."

In listening to Aftertayst's debut CD "Self Execution," I realized two things. The first was that I'm certain this band's songs would go over great in a live setting. The second was that, no matter what the venue was — and where I was in it — that a live performance would sound much better than this "studio" CD.

I credit Aftertayst with being one of the few bands to make me actually jump a little after hitting play, as a round of gunshot rings out to open "Moral Decay." The song itself is a nice little thrasher, with singer Miguel "Miggs" Martinez doing some really good work that propels the song forward well. He's got a great way of existing somewhere between melodic vocals and screaming that's akin to Phil Anselmo, if a little higher-pitched.

Guitarists Dan Kabanuck and Lee Baxter really shine in the beginning of the album's third track, "Never Fear," with Kabanuck's galloping rhythm line a perfect counterpart to Baxter's solo.

The band's sound ranges from straight-ahead thrash on tracks like "Why," to something more like a slow Pantera jam on songs like "The Urge."

Also, I have to give the band credit for some cleverness, beginning "Bar Fight" with Paul Davis playing a drum line right out of the Revolutionary War.

It's just too bad that the production on this album nearly completely destroys some great performances. From the moment the last gunshot fades away in "Moral Decay," the production deficiencies become apparent. The guitars are tinny and sound like they were recorded with a microphone in the next room.

Several songs toward the end of the album seem like exercises in finding out how many times one instrument can drown out another. Martinez's vocals on "Cold Chill" are nearly completely covered up. Davis' drumming is often difficult to hear over the din of the guitars, and if it weren't for a couple parts where he and Davis are the only ones playing, I'm not sure you could hear bassist Gabe Ramos at all. The poor production also destroys all attempts at subtlety. The occasional quieter guitar solos from Baxter are nearly inaudible.

All in all, I'd suggest that if Aftertayst is coming to your town, it'd be worth the money to go and see them, but don't bother with their album.

Highs: Guitar work on "Never Fear;" the clever "Bar Fight."

Lows: Terrible production decisions that sink all but a couple tracks.

Bottom line: This is a band to see live, but an album to skip.

Rated 2 out of 5 skulls
2 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)