After Forever (Digibook)
Import digibook with bonus track.
"After Forever calls this album their "past, present, and future" and they're not kidding. You'll find classical symphonic elements like on their debut, bombastic Decipher-era rhythms, straight up metal Invisible Circles-style, and most importantly a continuation of the dominating progressive step forward they took with Remagine. As was evident on Remagine, the addition of Joost van den Broek on keyboards has been invaluable to this band. His compositions seem to take them to the breaking point of their talent and what an incredible ride it is!
This is a very cohesive collection of songs; a true album with focus and direction, yet, each song is individual and memorable. Immediately catchy hooks like in "Evoke" and "Equally Destructive" will draw you further into this very visual experience while the guitars in "De-Energized" will simply whip through your body (no doubt due to the incredible performance of Annihilator's Jeff Waters who lends his talent to the tune). Their chosen single, "Energize Me," took longer for me to appreciate, possibly due to it's placement in the track listing: compared to the bullet ride of the album so far it sticks out as a rather bland moment in it's beginning. I believe they meant it as a chance to breathe, a respite, but on the first few listens it feels more like a dead stop. Despite that, it works up to quite a powerful climax and over time you'll recognize the intended respite and look forward to the beautiful song that follows.
Vocalist Floor Jansen's immense talent and versatility has been obvious since the beginning yet she continues to surpass herself with each release; this album is no exception. If you don't already consider her one of the best voices in heavy metal then maybe this album will convince you. Speaking of vocals, we're in for a real treat with the song "Who I Am" which features the great Doro Pesch on lead vocals. Floor backs her up and the two powerhouses completely lay waste to this track, all the while showing off After Forever's "heavy" metal side of their personality.
I just can't capture with words the sheer energy and joy that this band has bottled up and recorded for us. They clearly love making music and their passion makes this incredible album that much more memorable and exhilarating than just the great compositions alone. I might say this is After Forever's finest release yet." - Metal Storm