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Review: After Forever - Exordium
After Forever

Label: Transmission Records
Year released: 2003
Duration: 26:39
Tracks: 6
Genre: Gothic Metal

Rating: 4/5

Review online: May 23, 2004
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers Rating

Rated 2.75/5 (55%) (8 Votes)

It's been about three years since After Forever released their excellent "Decipher" album, and now we are finally drawing close to the release date for their 3rd CD. This is not it: this is an EP put out to get their name in the public eye and create interest in the new album, since the band has been quiet for a while. AF have put out a string of singles and bonus CDs to keep on the radar, and this is the latest and most lavish one as the band gears up for the new album. After the rather acrimonious departure of main songwriter Jens Jansen some people wondered if After Forever could keep going, and I think this disc proves unequivocally that they can, even if there are some differences in their sound.

Musically this is a bit of a departure from previous After Forever albums. The Gothic elements have been throttled back, and the band has written some more straightforward and catchy songs than before. There are only three original tunes on here (the first track is an instrumental—nice but only a few minutes long.) and they are a clear departure for the band. After Forever seem to be moving in a slightly more traditional, accessible direction with their new material, as these three songs are much less elaborate and much more memorable than anything off "Decipher". There are actually catchy choruses here, as well as more conventional metal song-structures. There is nothing here to match the operatic crescendo of, say "Yield To Temptation", but the tunes here are very catchy and stick in your head after just a few spins—something their previous efforts never managed. Floor Jansen has improved enormously as a singer, though she is using less operatic styling and relying more on just singing. Before she always had lots of power, but seemed to have problems staying on pitch during the acrobatic vocal arrangements. Here she stays in the midrange most of the time and sounds stronger and more controlled, she looks great too.

The packaging on this EP is really excellent, as you get not just the CD, but a DVD of extras to boot. There's a video for "My Choice"—which isn't bad, but nothing really exciting. It looks like an early 80's video. They also added a 'making of' featurette for the video, which might be more interesting for me if I spoke the language. You also get some studio footage, a slide show, and artwork. The artwork and design on the booklet are really first rate, and Transmission have really outdone themselves with this one. The lyrics are a weak spot on the CD, as they are rather ostentatiously introspective and try way too hard to be 'meaningful' without any poetic sweep or euphony. They actually distract me from the music in places, which isn't good at all. The last 2 tracks are covers: one of Maiden's "The Evil That Men Do" and another song by someone called Randy Crawford. The maiden cover is actually cool, but I can't say the other tune does anything for me.

So this is a release more or less strictly for fans. Despite the efforts made in the special features department, I can't really recommend this disc to someone not already into this band. As there are only 3 real original songs on here, this is fairly scanty, and actually just a teaser for the forthcoming full-length. I can see this being a transitional phase for After Forever, as they are moving away from the extremely Gothic style of their old material, using fewer deathgrunts and less orchestration, and towards a more straightforward sound overall. I enjoy this EP a lot, but I am already a fan. Bottom line is that fans of AF should dig this, and with the extra stuff it's worth the look. But if you are not already enamored of this band, or of Gothic Metal in general, it's not likely to make a convert out of you.

Other related information on the site
Review: After Forever (reviewed by Larry Griffin)
Review: Decipher (reviewed by Larry Griffin)
Review: Exordium (reviewed by 4th Horseman)
Review: Invisible Circles (reviewed by Bruce Dragonchaser)
Review: Prison Of Desire (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Remagine (reviewed by Bruce Dragonchaser)
Review: Remagine (reviewed by Larry Griffin)
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