After Forever. That is simply the title of the fifth album from Dutch metal band, After Forever. Why ? Because all their musical ingredients have been consolidated on this record. This makes After Forever, their debut for German/American label Nuclear Blast, a Seminole album in their catalog.

With After Forever, the band revisits all the styles they have showcased on their previous work while simultaneously hinting at things to come. “This album is a great summation of everything we have done,” says guitarist Sander Gommans. “You can hear the energy of Prison of Desire, the melancholy of Decipher, the progressive approach of Invisible Circles and the more catchy elements of Remagine. You can’t get more After Forever than that.” Gommans is also referring here to their patented metal sound which incorporates a real orchestra. There are also some prominent guest appearances on the record - Jeff Waters (Annihilator) and singer Doro Pesch (ex-Warlock). “We asked Doro to participate partially to show people that in the 80’s there were already female artists making this style of music.”

Whereas the music from this sextet is loosely based on these influences - with Floor Jansen, After Forever have their own shining front-woman – the band has never pinned itself strictly on any given style. They have the obvious combination of metal and classical themes, but can just as easily implement rock, pop, industrial and progressive styles into their songs.

That these genres naturally flow together on the album is a coincidence according to Gommas. “Yet at the same time very typical for a band like us. After Forever is the perfect document of who we are. From 1995 on we have created a style that we color in different ways. Not very different than you would expect from a metal band. Floor adds her unique flavor to the mix, but the rhythm section is also critical to our specific sound.” On After Forever, this sound is again very recognizable. This is mainly due to the fact that the recording process was similar to the previous albums, with one exception – the role of producer Gordon Groothedde. Gommans calls Groothedde “an a-typical metal producer”, who met each other through fellow band member Joost van den Broek.

The collaboration proved to be magical. “Gordon was our seventh band member for a while,” Gommans adds. “We never release a song that we are not happy with, but on this album I am also in love with the production as well as the order of the songs. The challenge is often to make an album that is better than before, while also keeping certain style characteristics in tact. In that we have succeeded.”

Having said all that, the record also provides a hint of things to come. That their future will be promising is already evident by their rigorous tour schedule that will take them through Latin America, USA, France, England, Czech Republic, Germany, Belgium and of course their home Holland. They are hereby following the successful road paved by their previous album, Remagine, where new musical boundaries were explored. While the production of that record had its speed bumps – drummer Andre Borgmans was operated on to remove a tumor – 2005 turned out to be their most successful year to date. Especially in South America, they turned on a whole new group of rabid fans. They played sold out shows in Chili, Colombia, Brazil and Mexico. Gommans looks for an explanation for this: “People experience music slightly diffently there, “ he speculates. “In general they have less there, and I suppose they are able to find added comfort with bands and their music.” Although he will not become jaded by these Beatle like events. “It’s great to be received like that, but we also enjoy it when its time to go home to Holland.” It was there that they had another highlight – performing with a philharmonic orchestra in the famous 013 club in Tilburg. After that, another successful European tour rounded out 2006.

At their inception in 1995, After Forever made waves with their mix of death metal and classical music. With the inclusion of Floor Jansen 2 years later, the music took on a more diverse theme without ever losing its roots in the classical influences. After 2 demos the band released Prison of Desire in 2000, followed by Decipher (2001). Along with their mini album Exordium, the full-lengths Invisible Circles and Remagine, all these records were released world-wide. Fueled by the raving reviews from many press pundits, the band dared to evolve more, while laying the groundwork by touring Europe and South America. In Holland, the band has played every stage there is, also together with the Finnish bands Nightwish and Charon. Meanwhile they were showcased at many major festivals, including Pinkpop, Lowlands, Dynamo and Ozzfest.

Now, in 2007, After Forever is ready to make their latest breakthrough. A new album, new production team, new label and a world-wide tour will make their upcoming 10 year anniversary a true milestone.

- March 2007

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