Review Summary: After Forever have released an album of the ages with this inspired piece.
2007 has been a good year to the metal community. A lot of up and coming young bands are releasing their best work. "Wolves In The Throne Room" are one of those bands. Bands that have stuck around the past decade or so are also releasing their best work. Some of the Forefathers of Metal are still going strong as well, Dark Tranquillity dropping another amazing album upon the masses. Then, out of the ashes, I spotted an album from a band I was not familiar with. It seemed very intriguing after reading a great review off of this site.
" After Forever" was their name. Apparently, they played a style of Gothic Metal that reached perfection on their newest album. I can tell you this, the praise that this album receives is worth more than words. A merging of the genres finest, Nightwish, Lacuna Coil, and similar bands, "After Forever" one up those by producing an album full of quality music.
I'm not aware of what they have released in their past, but what they have shown me here has impressed me greatly to the point of delving into their back catalog. One listen through, I thought, "man", this chick can sing. Floor's voice rival's if not tops the power of "Tarja or Christina" The band itself aren't too shabby either.
Floor Jansen - Vocals
Sander Gommans - Guitar, harsh vocals
Bas Maas – Guitar, vocals
Luuk van Gerven - Bass
André Borgman - Drums
Joost van den Broek
Floor has a powerful voice which she uses to full extent on this album. She has enough range and variety through her voice to separate herself from the rest of the pack. Mainly utilizing the more straightforward approach, she hits her notes well. Full of power and force, she commands the listener with ease before throwing in a couple of curveballs. Some songs, she tweaks her voice to more of a Soprano tone. Adding new elements to the music. If that wasn't enough, she also can sing with an operatic tone to perfection. This tri vocal approach is very accurate, complementing well with the harsh vocals that take place. Now, there is the atypical ballad on this album. On "Cry With A Smile" , the tempo is slower and the piano hits are haunting. Floor delivers a heart felt performance full of passion. One of the highlights off this album for sure.
Now, lets get past the voice and delve into the music. The band itself play accordingly well to Floor's demanding voice. The guitar work provides the heaviness and the solid base of the album. Mid tempo riffs are fast and provide enough aggression to keep the metal heads happy. There are enough guitar solos to satisfy those who get off on guitar wankery. The solos are well played and provide a great amount of emotion. Sander provides all the harsh vocals to be found here. Adding spices of Death Metal to the mix, this approach works well, especially in the opener, "Discord". A real crunchy number where Floor and Sander's trade off, executed well if not terribly original. The keyboard work excels on this album with Joost providing various tones ranging from haunting piano notes to electronic bleeps. There is some orchestral work that can be found throughout, almost having a "Dimmu Borgir" or "Nightwish" feel but still nailing their sound to a beat. Adds well in providing the music with a rich atmosphere. Bass is drowned out from all this commotion, but not to worry, it's never missed. Drum work is rock solid, providing a rocking beat. A lot of cool patterns here and there, ranging from plenty of double bass to interesting fills.
"After Forever" have unleashed a monster that seems to pick up more steam with each listen. In a year filled with Melodic Death Metal and Black Metal masterpieces, After Forever deem worthy of the "dark horse" album of the year. To me, this is an album that should be heard by everyone. Doesn't matter which side of the fence you stand on with your music, this is an album that can be appreciated by music lovers.
Great musicianship, songwriting makes up fro lack of technicality.
Some songs tend to drag longer then they should.