Well, this sounds like about a sixth-rate “Angel of Disease” ripoff. That’s really what the riffs are.
There’s a lot of dissonant riffs and octave abuse, but where Phantom used dissonance and even atonality on “Angel of Disease” and “Withdrawal” to build contrast between riffs, Immolation here only know how to use pinch harmonics to create texture. Which is fine, but gets repetitive and tiresome after the third track.
“Here in After” isn’t really an awful album, it is just pretty mediocre. There’s one good song on here (the title track) and then a lot of songs which are generally similar sounding and all pretty mediocre.
The riffage varies in quality, with some occasionally brilliant ones coming in (“Nailed to Gold” and the title track again), but generally most of the riffs are just boring as fuck. Perhaps even worse, they are all too often buried beneath a pretty horrible guitar-as-wallpaper texture style of playing that de-emphasises the individual notes and goes for a blurry incoherent sound.
Immolation aren’t an incompetent band. They know how to write riffs (unlike Dark Funeral), and they know how to arrange them coherently (unlike Cannibal Corpse). That’s pretty rare in nowadays death metal.
But still, “Here in After” like almost all Immolation albums seems lacking in a certain something… a purpose to their music.
It’s almost as if they decided to create an album just to show that they too could play technically challenging death metal, pretty much the same impetus that motivates hordes of fecal worshiping “tek-def” bands like Necrophagist and Aborted and what not… except Immolation actually have the skill to back it up, but that doesn’t change the fact that their music comes from the same place as modern air guitar wankery popularised by what is really an even more incoherent version of deathcore (“tek-def” was born with Meshuggah, after all).
If compared to “Onset of Putrefaction”, “The Satanist” or “Slaughter of the Soul” then yes, “Here in After” seems like the supreme death metal experience. But once you scratch a little under the surface, you rapidly reach the conclusion that Immolation’s music, while technically proficient, is also pretty bland, tepid and overall uninteresting.
There is no way “Here in After” comes even close to competing with “Onward to Golgotha” or “Effigy of the Forgotten”. Or anything by Phantom. Hell, it doesn’t even measure up to cheap Phantom knock-offs like “Locked Up in Hell“.