To say I have been excited for this day is an understatement. After Smoke Clears have released their long-awaited debut album Edification. They built a formidable reputation for making captivating groove-laden bangers backed by solid relatable messages and imagery. There have been many days I wake up with Machine Dependant playing in my head, just luring me back in.
With Edification, I expect a lot of the same, yet in the same breath I’m left not knowing what to expect at all, that is what these guys do so so well.
I could easily go on about every single detail of each song, but for sake of brevity, I will spare you, and try to only give my highlights. I have also reviewed Machine Dependant and Rapacious, two of the singles before. Go check them out if you please. (Links below)
The title Edification means educating someone intellectually and, more importantly, morally. It summarises the message and intent of the album perfectly. Our understanding of the world, nature, the supernatural, and our perceptions of moral values will be challenged in Edification, and of course, we are always open to it.
The first track on Edification ignites the entire journey into a new-core frenzy. The Vine sets a foundational tone that we can hear elements of throughout the entire album but expressed at its most bare. The song is about the South American psychedelic brew Ayahuasca, which is known to be a very intense grueling experience with violent physical side-effects but thought to purge the body of all negativity, like a reset button. This depth behind each lyric’s meaning and how well they are written to complement their song stands out for me as an x-factor on this record.
Deterioration was immediately one of my favourite songs of the year, with an exceptionally raw and emotional intro that floods throughout the song with a powerful melody and a fantastic groove rhythm to back it up. It is not the flashiest song on the album but what it does it does really well and cements itself as a champion on Edification that just gets more enjoyable the more you hear it.
The last of the singles released, Extinguo is another song that stands out and shifts to another gear to the rest of the record. Faster grooves and hypnotizing tremolo melodies buzzing gently in the backdrop emphasize the change in tempo when intermediate breakdowns hit. The result is sheer bliss and makes for an absolute gem of a moshpit song.
My hope in anticipation of Edification was that After Smoke Clears would just keep on surprising me as they have done all year long, and not only have they met that expectation, they completely smashed it through the ceiling. Edification is a wonderful collection of compositions where every single song is heavy, intense, well-thought-out with a nuanced creative flare.
A must listen.
– Franco Rootman (The Basic Human Principle)