Top positive review
4 people found this helpful
on 21 February 2009
This was the Dutch symphonic metal group's first recording for a major label but was overlooked somewhat as it's 2007 release coincided with offerings from all the movements leading lights (Nightwish, Within Temptation, Therion and Epica to name but a few). It is easily as strong as any of these, if somewhat lacking the overall class of "Dark Passion Play". What the album does confirm is that Floor Jansen is THE most impressive female vocalist working this (or most other) genre(s).
The songs carry on the more accessible feel of their last release "Remagine" but their mixture of styles works to a greater extent than any of their previous recordings. Floor's vocals are the highlight and she floats effortlessly between her rock and symphonic voices in a way that none of her competitors can. Guitar riffs are very much metal based (unlike Within Temptation and Epica) and don't (thankfully) use the muffled fuzz sound of many of the newer metal groups.
Despite using all the tricks of the genre's trade (choirs, orchestral backing, grunts, Arabic melodies, tinkling pianos in quieter verses) much of After Forever's music is more like prog rock with lots of changes - Dreamflight is a classic example, and Floor's aria-like section halfway through is gorgeous. Check out "Withering Time" to hear how effective a soprano can be in a rock setting as unlike Tarja from Nightwish Jansen has real rock sensibility.
There's hardly a weak track here and "Discord", Energise Me" and "Equally Destructive" are catchy rockers. "Cry with a Smile" is a lovely ballad, and the closer "Lonely" is hugely prophetic, and now rather sad, as the group announced earlier this month that they are quitting. Seems a terrible shame in light of this excellent album and the fact that Floor is still in her twenties. Very highly recommended !