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Once – After Earth

Once
After Earth
by Erik Aikos at 14 November 2018, 8:51 PM

Sooo, here we have German Symphonic Metal group, (SOMEBODY) ONCE (TOLD ME), with their first album, "After Earth”. Released after  a demo and a single (a promo single for the record) in 2015 and this year, respectively. Let’s jump right into it, shall we?

I like Symphonic Metal, because I like sub-genres that challenge and go against genre tropes (in any artistic medium). When Symph arrived, it was a time where you were either manly as fuck (Thrash, Speed, Classic), or feminine as fuck (Glam). It was good to have a sub-genre that had a tasty edge of elegance and softness, while maintaining the basics of the Metal sound.

I could confidently say ONCE follows that tradition well, although it’s also very apparent that the band musically focused this LP more towards Symphonic rather than Metal. Despite this, I could only hear 3 symphonic instruments in the 58 minutes of the record, namely piano, stringed instruments, and a very Christmas-y glockenspiel in the surprisingly elegant, but not that tame "Distorted Smiles”. Overall, although their genre does go against the usual Metal clichés, the band themselves don’t really offer anything remotely new or unique to the sub-genre. Vocalist Alina Lesnik’s voice is a really good blend of eloquence, energy, and beauty. Yet, with that said, after 58 minutes, it becomes kind of stale. Guitarist Marco Paulzen also adds some vocal flavor, but it's not as interesting as his female counterpart.

Honestly, I just think this project was too ambitious for a band that just doesn't have that much experience or artistic personality. I find that there are more bands making long (40-70 minute) albums than there are bands who can actually pull it off. Speaking of purpose, our climax here, "The Final Stage” has no reason to be over 10 minutes long, besides the gimmick of having a long high-point song. But its follow-up, the calming and full-off-ambiance "Epilogue (A Memento of Our Hiraeth)” was a really nice touch and was perfect ending at its 5:51 mark.

Songwriting: 5
Originality: 2
Memorability: 3
Production: 6

2 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Act 1 (Overture)
2. Awake
3. My Masterpiece
4. The Allure (Feat. Shir-Ran Yinon)
5. Distorted Smiles (Feat. Sir-Ran Yinon)
6. The Hour of Eden's Fall
7. Act II (Intermezzo)
8. My Fairy Tale
9. Phenomena
10. The Sins of Saints
11. Insane Schemes of Sanity
12. The Final Stage (Feat. Shir-Ran Yinon)
13. Epilogue (A Memento of Our Hiraeth)
Lineup:
Alina Lesnik – Vocals
Marco Paulzen – Vocals, Guitars
Frank Wypchol – Keyboards
Alexander Hey – Drums
Record Label: Pride & Joy Music
     


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Edited 19 December 2018
 

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