Hot damn, this is a head banger. It really is AtB doing their AtB thing as only AtB can. Unfortunately, that’s really all it is. Fortunately, that may be all it needs to be. Let’s chat about it a bit, shall we?
For starters, this album will get you moving. I had this puppy cranked as I jumped around my living room and I nearly put the damn thing on repeat just to head-bang more. I am willing to bet these songs just slay live. The thing is, it keeps losing me. I don’t quite know why. It just has trouble holding my undivided attention for its entire 39 minute run-time. One of the things I did notice is that a lot of the more interesting parts (to me anyways) never seem to be the focal point of the songs. To explain, the main anchor riffs that are repeated most often seem pretty “meh” sometimes. Then some riff in the middle will be totally amazing and unique but only pop up once for 20 seconds. Again, all the great riffs are still there, just kinda buried.
I will say this for sure though; every song does have at least one cool and interesting part, which is pretty impressive. And really, it would be a tough thing to make every part of every song amazing, but the mediocre stuff is reeeeaaaalllly mediocre, which ends up dragging the whole thing down more than is should. Again, I’m of two minds here. So what if there are some misses in the arrangements when the whole thing is just relentlessly groovy? I don’t know, it really may just be that this is more of a live energy album and not something you put on to actively listen to, and maybe that’s just fine.
All right, time for some individual critique. Well, to put it simply, everyone in the band kicks ass on this album from front to back. They may just be doing what they have done for every album so far, but they are fantastic at it. The guitars are tight, the bass holds it down, and drums add just enough flair to the parts to liven everything up a bit. I still love Anthony Notarmaso’s vocal delivery. He has great feel for the rhythmic content and knows when to do add and subtract with the rest of the band. Plus, the various tones and delivery styles he uses are great accents to the rest of the music. I personally think he’s one of the best straight screamers in metal today.
Sound wise, this album is fantastic. It’s probably their best sounding album to date, honestly. I know I have ripped a bit on Will Putney in the past, but he absolutely nails everything here. Loud or quiet, everything is in its place and easily heard. Great tones, great space, great balance. Love it.
There is one thing that I’m going to give a special mention though – the stupid ass air horn on Laurentian Ghosts. Seriously, that has to be one of the dumbest fucking things I have ever heard on an album. They may as well have just put that cartoon trombone “wah wah wahhhhhhhh” in there. It actually made me laugh out loud and stop and go back on my first listen to make sure I heard what I thought I did. What the hell were they thinking?
Taken on the whole, this is a solid if not totally remarkable banger of an album from AtB. I absolutely loved the bits of experimentation on Wolves Within and wished they would have a tried a few more things like that here on Dig Deep, but oh well. This album won’t win any new fans, as it’s more of the same, but if you like the heavy ass groove of AtB, you’ll like this album. A lot. I love it actually; I just wish it had a little something extra that took the band a little farther out. They are kinda turning into a 311 or AC/DC type band where you know exactly what you are going to get. No surprises but kick ass tunes just the same.