There’s a relatively well known idiom that goes “everything old is new again”; rather, fashions and trends are repeated or revived. Another way of putting it is that nature is cyclical and simply because something – be it a fashion trend, style of music or idea of old – has passed, doesn’t mean it won’t one day rise to the top. For instance, the vinyl industry was near long forgotten in the 90s and 2000s thanks in part to the rise of CDs and then the digital revolution with iTunes and other music purchasing outlets. Now, that same industry that was once left for dead is set to near the $1 billion benchmark which it hasn’t seen since the 80s. Apply that line of thinking to the sounds and styles that make up the music industry and the sudden rise in popularity that nu-metal is once again seeing should surprise no one. That’s where West Palm Beach, Florida’s Afterlife comes in to play with their Stay Sick Records debut EP, Vicious Cycle, which fully embraces the style that so many once believed was left in the past.
Even though many bands have labeled themselves as nu-metal, a large amount of them tend to lack the actual foundation of what the genre consists of. That isn’t the case with Afterlife as the five tracks that make up Vicious Cycle almost seem as if they were taken straight from the early 2000’s – be it the rapped verses, down-tuned guitars or the subtle scratching effects littered throughout. At the same time, the record has a lot of metalcore influence in the vocal delivery as the screams are downright raw and at times even brutal, though the tone of them rarely changes. The true bread and butter of what these guys can deliver sonically is found on their second single, “Pain & Pleasure” or the EP closer “Catalyst”, which both showcase two distinct and varied vocal styles all entwined with brooding guitars and skittered electronics. This approach lives on all the songs found on Vicious Cycle, but the other songs have a heavier, deeper sound that’s more rooted in metalcore than full-fledged nu-metal.
Listen on iTunes and Apple Music: https://itun.es/us/BTQKgb Purchase now: https://staysick.lnk.to/viciouscycle Directed by Orie McGinness at Enlighten Creative Studio.
While it may not yet be something that people are chomping at the bit for, Vicious Cycle is a brilliant example of what the nu-metal revival sounds like with tighter, modern production, better direction and a strong musical foundation. The positives outweigh the negatives here as the biggest nitpicks to the release mainly lie within its short run-time (15 minutes) and the relative feeling of sameness between the tracks themselves. Fortunately, these don’t really anchor down the overall sound and approach that Afterlife was aiming for with Vicious Cycle and at the end of the day, this is a release that was clearly influenced by past genre mainstays and fills the mold that they created, leaving us wondering what they’ll bring to the table with a full-length record.