I originally purchased the music only CD as I was not aware that the enhanced version was available. Soooooo glad I got this version. After Forever were amazing yet their rubbish record company (Transmission) did’nt promote them well at all. After Nuclear Blast took them on it was hoped for better things but the band decided to fold. Now their catalogue is almost unavailable anywhere. They didn’t really get a DVD concert together which is more the pity! What an amazing and quite original band that too many people will not get to see or hear.
Metal Album Reviews[RSS]
After Forever is another female fronted group, who joins the ranks of Nightwish, Epica, etc.
This is the first album I’ve listened to of theirs, and honestly, I was not all that impressed. Nothing really blew me away. However, there are some pros and cons, IMO about this album and group, in general.
The album starts off with a bang; the first 4 tracks are very, very solid. Energize is a fun, hooky song, and honestly, probably the best song on the album. Discord is good too, and I’m not a fan of growling, but he growls understandablely, not like Behomoth where you will need a lyrics sheet or a translator.
After the initial barrage of quality music and songs, I find the album lacking. I hear alot of rehashed music, nothing new. For instance, De-Energize has an opening that sounds like metallica’s One, just not nearly as good. A few songs I swear they were going to go into a storyteller mode and start talking about gnomes or dwarfs, heavy rhapsody influence in some of it.
The vocals are good, the women’s voice can be very overpowering, especially through headphones, and the music itself is pushed back. Whereas, nightwish, other the other hand, the vocals are more pushed back while the music seems to take center stage.
Overall though, for the 9 bucks I paid, is not terrible, but I would have expected more. Nothing on this album really screams out at me.
Windows Media classifies After Forever simply as “metal,” and I can think of no better description for this recording. Any metal fan will most likely find something appealing. As with most identifiably “metal” styles, the guitar, bass, and drums are predictably unified in tight unisons, grooves, and riffs, creating a wall of sound that seemingly harnesses the voices of Nordic gods. When mythologically large guitars just aren’t big enough, After Forever refers to metal’s great-grandfather – the Wagerian orchestra.
If this description seems over-the-top, it is intended as such. There is no lack of bombast on “After Forever.” Although the traces of “classic” metal can be teased out (Dokken, Scorpions, and Dio, for example), and periodically the ghost of Dream Theater wanders the halls, it is Queensryche’s melodramatic approach that is most palpable. If you can imagine Pat Benatar singing lead for Queensryche with one of Dream Theater’s early keyboardists on board, you might be able to approximate the band’s sound.
Lead singer Floor Jansen is in incredible form on “After Forever.” Occasionally, she sheds her Benataresque rock voice and veers into fully operatic style, possibly toeing the line on acceptable bombast. I don’t like it when male vocalists go there, and now I know that I am not sexist in this prejudice. Live and learn. Most of the time, however, her voice is powerful, distinctive, and feminine – possibly one of the better lead voices working today. After Floor, keyboardist Joost van den Broek also deserves mention. At the inception of metal, a keyboardist was considered bad mojo, and bands like Europe did little to refute this conception. However, Dream Theater changed that considerably, especially when Jordan Rudess came on board. A metal keyboardist now must be both a synthesist and a technician, and Joost’s post-Wakeman approach fills both of these roles admirably. I would suggest that he is a key member of the group, a proposition that is only cemented by the searching piano track “Lonely.”
Despite having respectable proggish chops, the band is not overly technical. They strongly emphasize melody, and there is plenty to sing along with. Although they employ death-metal style grunt vocals at times, they are used sparingly and, as a result, play a great foil to Jansen’s clearly masterful performance. I might venture to call After Forever “pan-metallic” because the band dips into every possible metal genre, including prog-, thrash-, goth-, death-, symphonic-, and even pop- to create a cohesive and relatively accessible effort. If it were released during the era of Queensryche’s “Empire,” “Energize” could have garnered a level of popularity, but the day of the prog-metal single is sadly probably over.
THE LOWDOWN: If you dig metal, in any form, there will most likely be something about “After Forever” that you will like – and perhaps something that you will not. In my case, the occasional histrionics make me roll my eyes, but I can’t help but bang my head and sing along most of the time. It is a shame that, although this is my first exposure to them, this is the last After Forever project, as the band has broken up. Happily, though, they ended on a high note and now I have the pleasure of checking out their back catalog.
It’s unusual for an established band to bring out a self-titled album. In this case, it makes sense. Under Mark Jansen in 1997-2002, After Forever was an early developer of the progressive metal sound that combined metal, death grunts and growls, and female lead vocals. When he left to found the great symphonic metal band Epica, After Forever struggled to find a new direction (and, for that matter, a new label).
This album represents an essentially reconstituted vision of the band. It moves away from “progressive” elements such as symphonic compositions, linked songs, or theme albums. Instead, it brings Floor Jansen’s vocal talents to the center stage. That’s an excellent decision. She can take the simple structures and instrumentation of a song like “Energize Me” and make it work by changing her timbre, projection, and style to carry the song forward.
The rest of the band is pretty standard metal: two guitars, keyboard, and drums. The songs are rockers and ballads, and they’re not trying to be more than good songs. I liked the first half of the album more than the second half – - if they’d kept up the quality of the first half, this would be a five-star classic.
All together, it’s a good metal band fronted by an amazing vocal talent. Most important, they have decided that this is what they are and are writing and performing as a unit.
I am a After Forever first timer, I bought this CD to check them out before going to their show in Bedford, NH. Yeah, I was one of the 40 showing up, what a shame . Anyway…
This is a pretty much perfect symphonic metal CD.
After Forever’s music is a thick but not muddy background of two guitars and keyboard. Somebody did a good job to keep these these apart and away from the voice, you have a medium-high speed background that drives the music forward.
Not that Floor’s voice needs protection, it is extremely powerful. More of a direct, no-nonsense voice, always keeping in the “singing range”, never shouting or screaming. There are some growly male vocals in here, but much less than other bands with growls.
There is a number of ballads on there and again, After Forever just know how to do it. No bombastic landslide style instruments. Show off the voice, support it properly. Many songs show good variety, including “Dreamflight” which is an 11 minute true symphonic piece.
This is not death or trash or speed metal, I would describe it as a mix of symphonic and power metal. I hesitate to mention power metal at all, because After Forever have “true” power from Floor’s voice and they are not at all like some European power metal acts that spend their time posing and fiddling with guitar effects. Speaking of guitar work, there are nice pieces of that in here (although somebody needs his wah-wah time limited).
I haven’t checked out the extra DVD yet but since this CD is a clear 5 out of 5 anyway I can as well write a review now.
Overall After Forever are the rising Star in my favorite band list, so please excuse me now while I order their other CDs.