Dutch band After Forever hit the ground running with Prison of Desire, the goth/symph/opera/classical/metal CD that shows more promise than a catwalk full of Miss America contestants.Sure there are a host of bands (mostly in Europe) that adhere to this genre’s formula of sporting a gorgeous female lead singer with a voice straight out of heaven…sharply counterpointed by a growling male voice from the pit of hell. Sins of Thy Beloved, Nightwish, Tristania, Lacuna Coil, Edenbridge, Theater of Tragedy, The Gathering and Within Temptation (among others) all feature stunning female vocals laid against a heavy metal backdrop that make them stand out like diamonds on black velvet.But, for some reason, no one does it as well as After Forever.And, in large measure, the reason is because of Floor Jansen, the 20-year-old soprano with a flawless operatic voice that amazes everyone who hears her. There simply isn’t another voice out there as clear, pure and compelling. Floor is amazing.But the rest of the musicians in After Forever are no slouches, either. The guitar playing is first-rate, with solid riffs, hooks and actual creative songwriting talent. The keyboard work is outstanding. And the drumming features everything you’d want to hear in a band of this sort: power and technical mastery.Although Decipher (the band’s second CD) wins first prize in my record collection, Prison of Desire features outstanding tracks as well.By the way, a friend of mine described After Forever’s music this way: “passionate and beautiful and at the same time angry.” She also told me her younger sister made this remark after hearing After Forever: “the music sounds like ‘two worlds fighting’” because the music is so pretty and would sometimes seem sad and then it would get angry.”I agree with their assessments. This is very passionate, beautiful music — but with a heaviness (both sonically and lyrically) that keeps it from ever becoming mere fluff.The only problem I foresee with music this creative and hard to define is finding a market for it. Especially in America. Any country that helps Britney Spears sell a gazillion copies of her latest CD will have a very hard time appreciating Prison of Desire — even though Floor’s vocals totally blow away anything Britney could ever record.It’s too bad, too. After Forever deserves as wide an audience as possible.Why don’t you buy this CD and help give them one?