Released: 2003, Mausoleum Records
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
MERCURY RISING, the fourth full-length album of Belgian band After All, is actually the first album of theirs I had the opportunity to hear. The band has been kept secret from me for all these years; I have never seen any of their CDs here in Finland anyway. However, the band has a strong fanbase in their own country of Belgium, and they have been able to share the same bill with such bands in the past as Paradise Lost, Voivod, Saxon, Life of Agony, etc.–quite a few ´big´ name.
Musically the band´s sound is often described as a solid contemporary metal with powerful melodic vocals, inspired by various genres; from the 80´s both Heavy and Speed Metal to NWOBHM to the 70´s Hard Rock to touches of both Doom and some psychedelic music (e.g. Pink Floyd).
Well, maybe all of those influences are packed into their songs in one form or another, but I want to make this even simplier for all of you as far as a fair description of their general sound is concerned. In my opinion, After All´s music generally is powerful 80´s-sounding Thrash with some occasional 80´s Speed, Traditional and Doom Metal elements raising their bold heads up out of this diverse metallic soup. That´s the only way I can describe it realistically even if they have a few exceptions on the album, too that kind of don't ´fit´ that mold. For example, the 10th song (“Last Day of Winter”) and 11th song (“Twist of Fate”) show that After All are incredibly good at churning out relatively doomish stuff as well as they do Speed, or Traditional or Thrash Metal.
Anyway, the band´s ´Thrash side´ is strongly present in such songs as “Mercury Rising”, “Beneath the Flesh”, and “The Shadow Wall”. Those particular songs make you want to bang your head a little bit, raising your fist in the air and scream at the very top of your lungs: “Fuckin´ Metalll…!!!”. Well, that´s exactly what I did anyway, just a short while ago…
The album is produced by Harris Johns at the Spider Studio in Berlin – who produced such bands as Sepultura, Kreator, Voivod and Helloween in the past. The production on MERCURY RISING is top-notch; what else you can really expect with his production skills?!
Seems like Mausoleum Records are making a great comeback as far as their new signings are concerned - After All being one of these bands to keep your eyes carefully out for from now on…