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After Forever - After Forever Award winner

After Forever
After Forever
by Kevin Lewis at 04 July 2022, 2:51 PM

AFTER FOREVER was a Dutch symphonic metal band that featured a number of musicians that are now working in different projects. Some work behind the scenes, some have moved to other bands. The most notable is Floor Jansen, who now fronts Finnish symphonic giants, NIGHTWISH. Their final, self-titled album was re-issued on May 27th, 2022, via Nuclear Blast Records.

AFTER FOREVER was one of those bands that fit between multiple genres simultaneously. Right from the start of this album, you get “Discord.” The title alone is basically the sum of the parts that is the band. You have growls and clean vocals, Symphonic and Power Metals, minimalist, and bombastic sections. All of this is meant to “Evoke” some pretty intense emotions. And they succeed. The songs are massive compositions that were, in my opinion, ahead of their time.

Other aspects of this album that are just incredible are things like the foreshadowing of what NIGHTWISH would become with Floor Jansen on vocals. Her abilities are amazing, so much so that there is a term for hearing her voice at its’ best. It’s called a “Floorgasm,” and you get a few of those here. The power on “Equally Destructive” causes one, but so does the subdued and subtle cry thrown in on “Cry With A Smile.”

You get some of the progressive beauty of the band on “Transitory.” The keyboards are a work of art on this track. The guitars are brilliant, and the rhythm is stunning. Even so, this is not the best song on the disc. “Equally Destructive” gets my vote for best track. Mostly because the song is so immensely powerful both musically and lyrically. That guitar riff is top notch and the metaphor of the world dying from the destructive power of the human race being tied to a personal, toxic relationship really struck a chord with me. I felt this song the most.

The song that shocked me most on first hearing it was “Who I Am.” The killer intro with the ominous tones, followed by hearing Doro Pesch’s voice mesmerized me. Their harmonies are stunning. They do not have similar voices in any way, but they work together so well. This is best heard during the brief acapella section where it is nothing but two angelic tones weaving around each other.

Lonely” is the next surprise. The piano and Floor, by themselves, is hauntingly beautiful. The warbles and vibratos of the voice, paired with the increasing urgency of the piano as the song grows, the grit she throws in towards the end, all of it is simple, yet stunning. There are just so many incredible elements to this song. It is emotive and endearing and melancholy and intense all at once.

AFTER FOREVER should have been one of the biggest symphonic metal bands in the world. Had they been able to stick together, they could have taken over the world. You hear both EPICA and NIGHTWISH in their mixture of moods and tones and textures. What they built will remain legendary for generations to come. They changed the way symphonic metal is written, performed and perceived. This is a band to be mourned and celebrated in equal measure.

Songwriting:  10
Musicianship:  10
Memorability:  10
Production:  10

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Discord
2. Evoke
3. Transitory
4. Energize Me
5. Equally Destructive
6. Withering Time
7. De-Energized
8. Cry with A Smile
9. Envision
10. Who I Am
11. Dreamflight
12. Empty Memories
13. Lonely
14. Sweet Enclosure
Lineup:
Floor Jansen – Vocals/Choir Voclas
Luuk van Gerven – Bass
André Borgman – Drums
Sander Gommans – Guitars/Harsh Vocals
Bas Maas – Guitar
Joost van den Broek – Keyboards/Orchestral and Choral Arrangements
Record Label: Nuclear Blast
     


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