Created in Long Island, NY during the summer of 1993 after guitarist Cody Drasser and vocalist Matt Duncan met and joined forces to create a death metal band that showcased Matt’s inhuman vocal abilities and Cody’s complex and brutal guitar work…
A number of bassists shuffled through their ranks until they lucked upon the unparalleled skills of David Case. Seeing as how Cody and David had been growing up together since a very young age, learning their instruments and playing in numerous bands together, David was the most logical choice to fill that very crucial role. The search for a drummer was also a source of constant frustration as there weren’t (at the time) many drummers in Long Island with the necessary talents and inhuman skills that death metal music required. Luckily, Afterbirth came across Keith Harris, a local drummer who, up until that time, had never even played a blast beat in his life. All too quickly, Keith showed amazing promise and talent and was quickly ushered into the band…
With a solid and talented line-up finally secured, Afterbirth began crafting songs that are recognized to be the origins of what is now called ‘Brutal Death Metal.’ In this way, the members of Afterbirth were the earliest pioneers of this subgenre, though they were unaware of it at the time. Their 1994 studio demo, “Psychopathic Embryotomy” has since become something of a cult-like and legendary item within the death metal underground, a landmark release that saw many bands following and imitating in their footsteps.
Unfortunately, just as the demo’s success would have thrust the band into another dimension of success and recognition, Afterbirth called it quits. This was a real shame because not too long after, many of those bands that followed in the band’s footsteps began achieving high levels of notoriety and success within the death metal realms.
Fast forward almost twenty years to 2013: Setting aside the arguments and differences that might have contributed to their demise in the first place, Afterbirth reformed and began rehearsing their older songs as well as crafting new material that not only draws upon their earlier stylistic roots as well as shows off the musical evolution that has developed in each band member since they last held space in a room together. Afterbirth recorded a new demo shortly after their reformation; simply titled “2014 Demo,” this new collection of songs showed off their sharpened and honed musical prowess, allowing the world of death metal to see that the band hadn’t lost step with it’s earlier incarnation and would be a formidable musical unit to contend with in the future.
Just as more successes awaited the band, alas, it was not to be! Another roadblock lay in the band’s midst as long-time front man Matt Duncan was asked to vacate the vocalist’s position due to numerous creative, personal and musical differences. It was an unforeseen and devastating blow to Afterbirth’s vision and progress, but the three remaining members, Cody, Dave and Keith, decided at this point to continue on as a 3-piece instrumental death metal machine, forgoing vocals of any style and not worrying about the future of the vocalist’s position. This type of situation would have been enough to crush a band of lesser motivation, but not so for the three remaining members who were now more dedicated than ever to the band its future.
It was at this point in time that the band descended into a period of extremely rich and productive songwriting, a space of unparalleled creativity and limitless inspiration where their energy was no less diminished for having lost a once crucial member.
And so the story went, or so we thought…following a couple of years without a vocalist, the band toiled on in obscurity, continuing to write music until the time was right to surface and eventually seek out Matt’s replacement. No easy task for sure, given Matt’s contribution to the genre – it could easily be argued he invented “guttural” vocals – but Afterbirth was certain they’d find someone and had their eyes set on one amazing guttural vocalist in particular…
Enter Will Smith, vocalist for Long Island bands Artificial Brain and Buckshot Facelift. Will’s inhuman gutturals definitely harken back to Afterbirth’s brutal death metal roots, while his impressive shrieking, hardcore bark and unearthly vocal techniques add much needed depth and color to the band’s ever-increasing sonic palette. In a strange turn of events, shortly after Will Smith was welcomed into the band as Afterbirth’s new vocalist, Matt Duncan tragically and suddenly passed away. We may never know whether it was a sign or coincidence, but fate had somehow decided to step in. We mourn Matt’s passing but embrace the exciting and mysterious future as a fully realized unit once again.
Heavy, complex guitar work; atypically inspired bass rumblings; skillful, fast and tastefully groovy drums/percussion; otherworldly growls from beyond known dimensions of time and space. All of this and more combines to form the basis of Afterbirth’s current musical output; welcome to a new era of brutal death metal forefathers, an era of beautifully cruel, brutal and progressive music making possibilities.
“Afterbirth is extremely pleased to announce that we’ve signed with Unique Leader Records, one of the most legendary and long-running labels in the death metal underground. We couldn’t be happier to be part of the Unique Leader tradition and its growing roster of some of the most intense and brutal bands operating in extreme music today.”