As far as melodic punk goes, After the Fall are very good at what they do. They play a fast, aggressive style of punk that's similar to bands like Propagandhi, Good Riddance, and A Wilhelm Scream. Influence from said bands is evident on first listen to this record. In fact, they pay homage to their influences in some of the songs if you listen close enough.
Most of the songs on Fort Orange, their second record, are very brief in time and rely on speedy melodies, tight riffs, and some pretty impressive guitar work to give them power while a lot of the lyrics have political and social messages in them. It's pretty creative of the band how they manage to combine the serious messages in the lyrics with some of the silly homages they pay in others. While those are nice, they'll probably go over your head when listening to the record. The catchy, melodic sound is what will likely keep you listening to Fort Orange.
As I mentioned earlier, After the Fall are great at playing this style of punk rock. It's accessible, it's catchy and the flourishes in the guitar work make it a bit more interesting. Fort Orange was also mastered by Jason Livermore (Less Than Jake, Good Riddance, Rise Against) at the Blasting Room, and it definitely pays off here as the production is nearly perfect for this style. However, as the case is with a lot of punk records, Fort Orange suffers from being repetitive and it ends almost before it starts. That's likely to happen when nearly every track is less than two minutes, with some of the longer tracks sticking out more. One big standout is "Decapitate," which sounds like it comes right out of Potemkin City Limits with it's soft guitar melodies contrasting with the crushing punk riffs in the verses.
After the Fall are a band that's close to becoming a force in the punk scene right now. While Fort Orange is a very enjoyable record, it doesn't carry much lasting value and they don't come close to the bands that they're influenced by. With that said, they did a solid job with this record and show a lot of potential for their next release.
6.8 / 10
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