|Review: After Forever - After Forever|
Label: Nuclear Blast
Year released: 2007
Genre: Power Metal
Review online: January 4, 2009
Reviewed by: Larry Griffin
Rated 3.75/5 (75%) (16 Votes)
I never did bother to listen to After Forever before I heard Remagine, and after rectifying that mistake, it was inevitable that I would eventually hear the album that came afterward, and what an album it is. After Forever's self-titled album defies standards and genres, and it's just a really great piece of music in general. It's a great piece of symphonic metal, yes, but also a really stellar metal album all on its own, too. Here Floor Jansen and her impeccably wondrous band exercise total control over their songwriting skills and instrumental mastery, and the final product is definitely one of the finest albums of '07.
Right from the opening pounding of "Discord," you know you're in for a treat. I always like to think of this song as a sort of extended intro to the rest of the album, because it basically is, with a foreboding stomp and a haunting melody. "Evoke" is okay, with a pretty nice chorus, but the album really kicks off with the melodic thunderstorm of "Transitory." This is exactly what After Forever should always sound like, with a staggering, stuttering riff pattern and Floor Jansen belting her heart out. Then you get the catchy advance single "Energize Me," and the ethereally charged, electric "Equally Destructive," and the towering "Withering Time," and the heartfelt ballad "Cry with a Smile," and pretty much every other song after that is completely stellar. Especially notable are the two best tracks on here; the spellbinding, fiery stomp of "De-Energized," which will rip you a new asshole faster than you can say "I suck," and the majestic, driving, eleven minute tour de force of power entitled "Dreamflight," which enchants and amazes with all the trappings, time changes and charms of the usual metal epic woven into After Forever's unique blend of styles.
After Forever have a mature, snappy, bombastic and deep-rooted command of Heavy Metal songwriting that I just dig, with groovy, pulsating rhythms, thundering staccato riffing, heartfelt and mesmerizing clean vocals from the lovely Floor Jansen and powerful, heavenly choirs to boot. The orgy of sound will floor you within a couple of listens, and you'll be wondering where this has been all your life. After Forever's self-titled album is essential for pretty much anyone who likes good metal, and if this is their last album, this would be the stunning high note you would want them to go out on. Absolutely superlative.
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