|By Mike Maher
After Forever are a Dutch metal band currently signed with Nuclear Blast records. After Forever is their fifth album and anyone who hasn’t heard this album should pick it up. Departing from the more operatic approach that most female fronted bands use, Floor Jansen sings with a melodic but strong voice that you can’t help but love. She just sounds so ass-kicking, like Amy Lee of Evanescence on steroids. This album features 12 tracks, with a heavier flavor than on previous albums. After Forever is embarking on their premier North American tour this fall, and will be making 14 stops across the U.S. and Canada. They are also headlining what is in my opinion the premier metal festival in the country, ProgPower USA, on October 7th in Atlanta, Georgia.
The opening track, “Discord,” is outstanding, and really pulls you into the music.Big and symphonic, it cracks into a beauty and the beast vocal style that’s very powerful.That’s the best word for Floor’s voice I think, powerful.It’s full of emotion and is such a great change from the really high Nightwish-y vocals that dominate female fronted bands.“Transitory” is probably my favorite track.It’s got some growl vocals mixed in, and the guitars are really amped up.“Energize Me” features more overdriven guitars and some superior vocals from Floor, who now handles all the lyrics in the band.Joost van de Broek does a great job on the keyboards, and Sander Gommans and Bas Maas have moved to the forefront on this album in the crunch department.Gomman also shines as the growler.
Fans of more melodic metal do not need to worry. There is plenty here, but the band has moved into heavier territory than we’ve seen on past releases, like the more progressive Invisible Circles. Floor still treats us with some melodic vocal passages. “De-Energized” has a wonderfully composed orchestral opening which then drops into a sweet guitar solo. But then we get a beautiful piano driven song with “Cry with a Smile,” and what I’ll describe as a Nightwish-style song with “Dreamflight.” Also “Envision” is a superb song, that could easily be a radio hit.
It’s best to say that long-time fans will enjoy this album. Fans of a powerful female voice will love it, and I don’t think there is anyone else who can match Floor right now. If you like the beauty and the beast style of metal, check this out. I really like this album more than their previous 2 releases because I find it heavier, and think Floor is really coming to her peak as far as her vocal performance. I know one thing; I cannot wait to check them out on tour!
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