Released: 2001, Transmission Records
It's interesting that in the last few years women have been gaining a more prominent role in metal. Aided by bands such as Nightwish, Sinergy and trail breakers Lee Aaron and Doro Pesch, it is not as uncommon to see a woman fronting a band today as say it was even 10 years ago when there were only a handful of women in metal. The explosion of gothic metal has been a big factor in this upswing as bands like Lacuna Coil, Theatre of Tragedy, Tristania and Sins of Thy Beloved all have females fronting their groups. Well add After Forever to that list. After Forever is fronted by Floor Jansen whose soprano voice brings an added dimension to the metal brew created by these Dutch musicians. After Forever released their first demo in 1999 which created great interest amongst the record labels. Transmission Records eventually signs the young band (their average age is 19) and they release their first disc PRISON OF DESIRE. The new album DECIPHER is produced by Stephen van Haestregt and was recorded in 2001 in studio RS29 in the Netherlands. The 6 young band members, Jansen: voice, Mark Jansen: guitars, Sander Gommans: guitars, Lando v. Gils: Synths, Luuk v. Gerven; bass and Andre Borgman: drums and acoustic guitar, have created a Cd that weaves together gothic metal with traditional metal and even some prog to create a disc that will appeal to not only the most sombre of metalheads but those who like a good chunk of classical music with their metal.
Whenever I hear the bands name, After Forever, I always think about a band by then same name that released a couple of albums in the early 90s. The members went onto form sHeavy who are a stoner/doom band. The music of this After Forever is nothing like their Predecessor. Even before hearing this band I had always been told they were like Lacuna Coil or Nightwish. Well, don’t expect either when you pop in this CD. Yes the vocals are operatic but the music is not powermetal like Nightwish. And though fronted by a female and tagged as gothic, After Forever are not a Lacuna Coil clone. They have their own identity. Songs like "Emphasis", "Estranged" and "Monolith of Doubt" and up tempo and very powerful and showcase the dynamic voice of Jansen. The band also delves into darker material where the violin and death like voices meld with Jansen yet again to create a sorrowful tapestry of despair. Jansen uses her voice to full extent throughout the disc and showcases a superb duet with tenor Rein Kolpa on the track "Imperfect Tenses".
The key to the amazing songs displayed on this CD is that After Forever create a perfect fusion of gothic metal with traditional metal and prog metal. Jansen’s voice compliments the overall atmosphere of the songs and the inclusion of strings and a minimal of rough male vocals colours the tracks in the such a way that each listen brings something new to the ear. For those that think gothic metal is not powerful, you will change you mind FOREVER AFTER you hear this CD.