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Released: 2000, Noise
I have been mulling over this review for the last few days and I am so sick of thinking about it that I am just going to do it. I have been listening to this CD for the last few days and I even have it in the car so that I could get my head around it. Connecting Animals is the second release from Finnish band Afterworld. At first listen I thought they were just another power metal band. Not that that is a bad thing as I like power metal but I had been listening to the Gamma Ray Blast From The Past discs for a week and I was in the mood for something different. I popped on Afterworld just to see what it was like and at first it sounded like standard power metal. However as I started to get further into the disc, I realized that they were a little different. Mika Kuokannen (vocals), Petri Saasköö (guitar), Ville Koskela (guitar), Marko Salo (bass) and Jani Outinen (drums + keys) make up Afterworld and they play what I can only describe as melodic power metal. At times they sound like a classic power metal band in the vein of Iron Savior or Rage at other times their music sounds more like a Pink Cream 69. The lyrics are just slightly different than the normal power metal fare as they deal more with inner feelings and thoughts than with swords and sorcerers.
I don’t want to leave the impression that these guys don’t kick some serious ass. They do!. "Second Chance" kicks off the disc with a headbanging double bass drum extravaganza. Mika Kuokannen has a voice that is more midrange similar to Peavy Wagner of Rage but he can also hit the high notes when the need arises. "Promises" is up next and it is a slightly more melodic song. The lyrics deal with the simple topic of the importance of keeping promises. This is one of the better tunes on the disc. Afterworld kick it up a notch with "Tell Me Why" and throw a curve ball in the form of a cover of "Money, Money, Money" by Abba. Though not as well done as the cover of "Eagle" by Rob Rock, Afterworld succeed in making the song their own. If the listener didn’t know this was an Abba song there is nothing that would give it away. On of the strongest songs on this disc is "The World Of Hypocrates" which is followed by "The World Of Hypocrates Part II". "Hypocrates" reminds me faintly of Gamma Ray or Iron Savior. Drummer Jani Outinen knows exactly when to kick the stuffing out of his bass drums and when to lay back and let the rest of the instruments do the talking. "Part II" is an instrumental follow up which includes some great guitar harmonies from Petri Saasköö and Ville Koskela. Other interesting tracks are "The Seventh Year" and the Cd closer "After The Dark" which is just full of some great guitar and drums. Great tune!
What more can I say about this CD? It took me a few listens but I really got into this CD. Afterworld don’t go for the all out power assault. They know when to kick it up a gear to get across their point but they also know when to drop it down a notch to keep the music interesting. Kuokannen has a distinct voice and which, while not up there with the great ones, perfectly suits the Afterworld sound. If you are looking for some melodic power metal check these guys out at http://www.noiserecords.com
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