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After Forever - Prison of Desire

After Forever - CD Review
Prison of Desire

CD Info

Transmission Records
11 Tracks
English& Latin Lyrics

If I had heard this album before Decipher, I probably would have praised it ad nauseam for its innovation, complex instrumentation and originality. Unfortunately, Prison Of Desire is eclipsed by its successor, and since it's important to take into context what a band is wholly capable of, one shouldn't overlook this album. However, this is no merely forgettable debut. It will never be the square one from which other bands are so keen to move from, since it is so wonderfully unique, and it works. After Forever take Gothic Metal to it's extremities – they make it fulfill it's potential, then take it further. Their style is heavy, growling and thick, then soft, ethereal and enchanting - but done with what's sadly lacking with other bands - an inimitable style.

The first track on Prison of Desire, Mea Culpa, is a beautiful choral piece, succeeded by the heavier Leaden Legacy. These two are so good that for a while I didn't bother listening to the rest of the album. Instrumentally, the basses are full on, the orchestration lavish and tight - this is music that demands you take notice of it, and if it could jump out at you and grab you, it would. AF don't lose the thread either: further on, one cannot ignore the delights which are Silence From Afar and Beyond Me [with Sharon from Within Temptation - a wonderful combination. It's a shame they don't do this more often].

If I were going to pick holes, I'd say that though Floor Jansen is one of my favorite vocalists, the vocals here are possibly not as accomplished as on Decipher, but the execution of the extreme vocals can certainly not be faulted, though I did feel they were a little misplaced in a couple of the songs. Nevertheless, this is a fine album with some wonderful parts, as well as great rhythm changes - fast becoming a hallmark of AF's.

However, if you've heard Decipher before this, you may be a little disappointed because it's not quite as good - you get the impression that AF are still finding their feet on this album - they know where they want to go, but they're not quite there yet. As ever, the listener benefits from spending time with such an album, but still, the rewards are not to be underestimated.