Musical Joy

After Forever

After Forever

After Forever

After Forever is a symphonic metal band from the Netherlands.  They rely on the use of both soprano vocals and death grunts. The band is also influenced by classical music. After Forever was originally assembled in 1995 under the name Apocalypse playing music mostly oriented toward death metal. Their style shifted in 1997 with the joining of vocalist Floor Jansen to add extra emphasis on her voice. The band at that point consisted of Floor Jansen, Mark Jansen, Sander Gommans, Luuk van Gerven, Jack Driessen, and Joep Beckers. In 1999 the band began composing songs of their own and they recorded two demo cds, Ephemeral and Wings of Illusion, which eventually drew the attention of the Transimission Records label, with whom the band signed a contract. Their debut album, Prison of Desire was recorded in 2000 and featured the guest appearance of Within Temptation’s Sharon den Adel. The album was an impressive success in Europe. In the end of that year, drummer Andre Borgman and keyboardist Lando van Gils joined the band, replacing Joep Beckers and Jack Driessen. In 2001 they released their second album, Decipher. Floor Jansen was invited to guest sing with Ayreon, one of Arjen Anthony Lucassen’s projects. In 2002 Mark Jansen quit After Forever and subsequently assembled the band Epica. He was replaced by Bas Maas. In 2003 After Forever released the album and DVD Exordium. In 2004 the concept album Invisible Circles was released. It reached 26th place in the Dutch Top 100 musical chart. Lando van Gils also left the band and was replaced by Joost van den Broek in the same year. In early September 2005 Remagine was released. On March 3, 2006, the band left the Transmission Records label, due to the scarce promotion that the label was providing. In October of the same year, they signed to Nuclear Blast Records. In the end of 2006 the band recorded a new album, self titled After Forever, which features a guest appearance from Annihilator guitarist Jeff Waters and Doro Pesch. The album After Forever was released on April 20, 2007.

Discography (That I Own)

  1. Prison of Desire 2000 – The first full length album by After Forever. The first thing that I noticed about this album was the beautiful clear vocals of the female soprano, Floor Jansen, as she was backed up by what sounded like a dominantly male choir. Though their first album, this is probably my favorite album by After Forever.
  2. Decipher 2001 – The second full length album by After Forever. I like this album. The instrumentation is beautiful, skillful and interesting. Floor Jansen’s voice just sound better and better. The male death grunts, which sometimes annoy me in other bands, are perfectly timed on this album to enrich Floor’s own voice rather than to call attention to the growls in and of itself.
  3. Exordium 2003 – The third album by After Forever. This album is alright, but by no means as fantastic as their first two albums. Floor doesn’t seem to be making the best use of her vocal range on several of the songs. Yet the skill of the band almost makes up for this lack.
  4. Invisible Circles 2004 – The fourth full album by After Forever. This is probably my least favorite album by After Forever. Invisible Circles tells the story of a girl who was unwanted and learned at an early age that neither of her parents wanted her. Floor’s voice, which is normally clear and beautiful, seems to be struggling and strident on this album.
  5. Remagine 2005 – The fifth album by After Forever. This album is a bit ambitious. The band seems to be slowly figuring out what they want from their music and where they want to go with it. Floor’s voice is much improved on this as opposed to her vocals on Invisible Circles. They cut back on the use of choir’s for background on this album, which I sort of missed but I didn’t find the lack too disturbing.
  6. Mea Culpa 2006 – A “Best Of” album by After Forever. It is a two disc set and I must say that the first disc is very nice. The songs on the first disc are from the time period were Mark Jansen was with the band. Disc two are songs that the band performed after Mark Jansen departed from the band and you can tell the difference between the two different musical feels. Both are pretty good but there is an obvious struggle from the music after Mark Jansen left as to determine the direction After Forever wanted to take.
  7. After Forever 2007 – The sixth album by After Forever. This is a fantastic album. I can say with full honesty that I think this may be one of their best albums. The music is simply fantastic, pumping and full of energy. Floor’s voice is always beautiful, but she truly shines on this album.

In Conclusion
After Forever is one of the bands that helped to make symphonic metal popular. Their earlier work, such as Prison of Desire, is quite good and their latest effort, After Forever, is certainly worth listening to. When I first listened to After Forever, I was enchanted by the voice of Floor Jansen and I find that I just keep coming back for more.

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