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After All - This Violent Decline (CD)

After All
This Violent Decline
by Grigoris Chronis at 04 October 2006, 12:59 PM

Who can you rely on to listen to some old-school Thrash Metal with some 'new' vibe? Beware: it's 'new', not 'Nu'. Belgian heroes After All surely belong to the hard working class, since they show enough interest to bombard us wit their new 'war craft' only one year and a half after their latest - tremendous - The Vermin Breed (2005) album.
Who'd believe that this quintet - apart from some slight lineup changes - preserves its original 'smell' since 1992? With a variety of releases (and formats - 7 singles, vinyl and CD albums, split LPs etc) these Bruges metallers have - believe it or not - a good reputation in the Central European Speed/Thrash Metal scene. Following the release of The Vermin Breed album, After All had the chance to support legendary names onstage - Agent Steel, Candlemass, Metal Church, Heathen and Destruction, I mean. The album - judging from reviews and opinions - marked a good impact and, thus, there was a good anticipation for a new effort. Shit, I gotta see this band live!
The mix of Speed & Thrash Metal was a familiar combination back in the 'glorious' 80s. Mega bands like Agent Steel, Metal Church, (early) Anthrax, Overkill or Vicious Rumors (at times,) acted as such, to give you an idea. After All surely pay homage to these US (mainly) heroes. Still, all their releases prior to this one also marked some NWOBHM likes (apparent or not) plus a 'pinch'of German Thrash elements. Well, in This Violent Decline it seems that the band is now keen on also looking to the Swedish 'new' Thrash Metal style a little bit. No worries, the filtering is still healthy and no major changes will someone observe in the new set of tunes.
Most of them move on fast tempos, excellent harmonies does Piet's throat outbursts, while - again - there is some overwhelming songwriting in terms of riffing. Plentiful soloing and great guitar 'crossfiring' is another plus for the album, while the rhythm section is as needed - assailing! Thus, since the world is moving onwards it is obvious that After All do not forget their basic influences as they try to add some e.g. The Haunted, In Flames or 'current' Morgana Lefay 'spirit' now to their music. This may have to do with Fredrik Nordstrom (In Flames, Arch Enemy, Soilwork) who did the mixing at Studio Fredman and Tue Madsen (The Haunted, Hatesphere) who did the mastering at his Antfarm Studios. No problem at all, anyway!
After All must extend their reputation beyond the borders of BeNeLux and Central Europe. Maybe the most interesting Metal band from Belgium I can recall of the last years. Watch the Frozen Skin bonus video and then try to imagine the energy of this band on stage. If you will be able to see the band live in your area soon enough, then try this album to see what you'll have to expect.

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
Frozen Skin
Violent Decline (Drawn To The Devil)
Blackest Moon
Sacraments For The Damned
Without Reason
Monolith #11
Ruins Of Bones
To Haunt You
The Harlot
Blind Euphoria 2006
Second Time Around
Frozen Skin (Video - Bonus)
Lineup:
Piet Focroul - Vocals
Dries Van Damme - Guitars
Christophe Depree - Guitars
Erwin Casier - Bass
Kevin Strubbe - Drums
Record Label: Dockyard
     


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