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Afterlife Symphony - Lympha

Afterlife Symphony
by Jon Conant at 14 May 2018, 1:02 PM

Young up and coming symphonic metallers AFTERLIFE SYMPHONY have returned for their 3rd full length release since 2013, “Lympha.” I really appreciate this group’s take on symphonic metal, their sound is characterized by backing orchestral elements that actually work musically in conjunction with the guitar and melodies being presented, as opposed to generic chords padding the background to provide atmosphere. It’s a much more deliberate take on the genre, and one the requires more effort. Coupled with a signature groove and chunk in the guitar that reminds me of various iconic power metal bands, it really is a unique and relatively fresh sound that they’ve made their own. The powerful and quite beautiful vocals from Anna Giusto (who reminds me quite a bit of Floor Jansen) become an added bonus to a very complete sound. Major kudos.

However, there are two distinct negatives to this album that are forgivable, but disappointing from a band on its 3rd release. The first being a sense of variety, while they have locked into their epic and deliberate orchestral sound, it’s one that belongs more in 2010-2013 as opposed to 2018. It’s unique to them and it’s well done, but falling behind the pace of the sounds of modern metal and the direction the genre is going. We hear this a lot in the guitar, it’s based largely on rhythmic groove and chunk as opposed to leads, but often ends up feeling somewhat basic and derivative after a few songs. They fail to transcend the sound they’ve created at any point. It’s great to lock into something that sounds good, but you don’t want to get stuck doing the same thing.

A great example of this is the ‘breakdown’ in track 2 “Oroboro,” and really the entire track in general. It’s that djenty staccato type breakdown we love so much, and the guitar throughout the song follows a similar style. And while it does sound cool in relation to the rest of the album it’s honestly nothing we haven’t heard a million times before from other bands. It’s rather behind the curve, which is fine, but if it leaves the listener bored then not much has been accomplished unfortaunely. The second major drawback for me is the production. It’s rather empty and chambered, with individual instrument tracks really standing out and failing to mesh together. The guitar, while musically awesome, does get drowned out and a little muddled with the bass. The orchestral elements also feel like they are behind the instruments, as opposed to blending in with them. I would have also loved more atmosphere and layering on the vocal lines. All this together leads to a sound that is slightly off and underwhelming, which is a shame as the music is quite good. They’re fixable problems, and I hope to see them improved on future releases.

The strongest part of the album is definitely the orchestral elements in conjunction with the guitar. As I mentioned before, the work together with the melody and rhythm of the song, lending to a feeling and sense of involvement of the orchestra, as opposed to feeling obligatory and in the background. A band that does this notably well is NIGHTWISH, and AFTERLIFE SYMPHONY does a great job as well. The album does start off strong, the symphonic elements and staccato guitars define the beginning of opener “Artemisia.” We really hear how well the orchestral bits work with the melody, which is extremely well, and it’s a great footing to begin the album. Probably my favorite song of the album. Unfortunately, we do fall into a lot of monotony after that, and the middle of the album is slowed down by a couple of soft numbers that don’t quite fit in as well. However track 6 “Era” does pick things back up with a heavier but also epic and soaring feel, Giusto’s vocals really stand out here, and we hear some of my personal favorite guitar chunk on the album.

I also greatly enjoyed track 10 “Enemy,” it’s more epic, more beautiful, and perfectly sets up the closer and title track “Lympha.” It also encapsulates the back half of the album, which stands out quite a bit more than the first with proggier guitars, better melodies, and overall a more epic fit that is more fitting to their sound than some of the softer numbers we get earlier in the album. The reality is “Lympha” isn’t a crowning achievement of symphonic metal, and it definitely has its flaws. I think AFTERLIFE SYMPHONY has a lot to improve on for their next release, but the talent and ability to do so are certainly there. If you’re in the mood for quality melodies, really excellent orchestral parts, and chunkier guitar than we’re used to in a lot of symphonic metal, plus spectacular vocals, I definitely recommend giving this album a listen.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 6

3 Star Rating

1. Artemisia
2. Oroboro
3. Mantra
4. Do
5. Cremisi
6. Era
7. Creation
8. Nebula
9. Obscura
10. XXI
11. Enemy
12. Lympha
Anna Giusto - Voice
Stefano Tiso - Keyboards and Piano
Eddy Talpo - Rhythm and Lead Guitar
Nicolas Menarbin - Bass
Antonio Gobbato - Drum and Percussion
Record Label: Revalve Records


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Edited 03 February 2023

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