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After Forever - Decipher CD (album) cover


After Forever


Progressive Metal

3.82 | 48 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars This album is in my opinion one of the defining masterpieces of gothic metal. This album is more of a modern fast paced gothic style, while their debut was in more of a slower old-school gothic style, although they both strongly feature symphonic elements. This album is less atmospheric and more progressive than the first one. Although this is a more modern gothic metal album, it has none of the trappings that are in the radio-friendly gothic metal albums from the likes of evanescence (ick!) or epica. Speaking of epica, this album features their guitarist, Mark Jansen. If you dislike (early) epica for the way they fetishize corny clichés, then have no fear, because in this band, the other members balance out his terrible ideas, only leaving his best ideas, and Mark Jansen at his best is quite noteworthy, as fans of epica would agree. It is his influence that makes this album gothic, and after he left the band completely shed the gothic sound and switched over to a style that mixes retro industrial with modern symphonic metal. This album is very fast paced for a gothic album, and summons an intensity that is unmatched in the gothic genre. Especially this can be seen in the first song (not counting the intro), Monolith of Doubt. It comes in fast with a rhythmic guitar riff, and layered on with an ascending keyboards riff that is both proud and urgent, and then there is a quick stop, and boom, female vocals like you’ve never heard them before; loud, clear, intense, and powerful, proud and sad, in a sort of aggressive melancholy. The song goes on, with more fast riffs, a sudden veer into clean arpeggios, with a sort of dramatic tension building, and then a burst back into metal, with the singer topping the wave of tension with a high note sung forcefully as an opera singer does, climaxing the song before it winds down on the first riff. This song is a bit faster than the rest of the album, but it adequately conveys what this album is about. It is proud yet melancholy, passionate yet sensitive, bombastic yet subtle. This album is the perfection of the symphonic goth subgenre, and while I’m sure someday another band may reach a different sort of pinnacle within this genre (and there are non-symphonic goth metal albums I rank up with this one), this will stand at the top of its own style. Nobody will beat this album at its own game (you hear that epica?) While this album works as a whole so well that it really doesn’t make sense to pick out individual parts, one part that particularly warrants attention is that of the lead vocalist, Floor Jansen (not related to Mark). Although on this album she is still finding her voice, she shines on this album much more than on the debut. Although many female metal vocalists have pretty voices, and maybe even have better voices by classical standards, she stands out for singing with strength. In other words, her voice is far more fitted to metal then the Simone’s, Tarja’s and Sharon den Adel’s of our current symphonic metal. Also worth mentioning are the drums, which feature some very creative cymbal work. The drums are a good lesson for other goth metal bands, where it often feels like the drummer is just a time keeper with no personality at all.
Nuke | 5/5 |


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