After All - Biography


Despite the independently released 7 inch vinyl EP "Dusk" (1992) - today a true collector's item, as only 500 copies were made - things didn't start to happen until 1994, when After All were awarded Best Unsigned Belgian Band and got to play the Rudd Rock Festival, with over 5,000 visitors. At this gig, After All aroused the interest of a Belgian independent record company called Donor Productions.

By the end of 1995, Donor Productions released "Wonder", After All's first full length album. Produced by Dee J. - guitarist of Belgian cult band La Muerte - "Wonder" contained 11 tracks of epic heavy rock and metal. Songs as "Witchcraft" and "Afraid" may be considered the foundation of the After All sound we know today. The album was distributed in Belgium only. Despite the lack of decent promotion, the album received rave reviews and After All got to play a lot of shows - some as headliner, some as support act for such bands as Anathema and The Gathering.

Taking things to a new level, After All released their second album "Transcendent" in 1997. This time Dee J. didn't only produce the album, he also released it through his label Watt's'On Records in the Benelux, France, Switzerland and Germany.

Musically, "Transcendent" profiles After All more as a metal band, with straight forward in-your-face power tracks as "The Force Within" and "Damaged Trust". Benefiting from Watt's'On promotional efforts, After All could present itself as support act for such well known bands as Megadeth, Life Of Agony, Hed (P.E.), Saxon, Voivod and Psychotic Waltz. After All was also invited to play at the official launch party of Metallica's "Reload" album in Brussels - a show which was broadcast by Dutch spoken national radio Studio Brussel.

"Transcendent" also made the band appear several times on local television and a 45 minute special - including interviews - was broadcast by Radio 21, a national radio station in the French speaking part of Belgium.

Finally, "Burn A Hole" - taken from the "Transcendent" album - was featured on the compilation album "Greenbellies Vol. 2", which was distributed freely with the Belgian metal magazine Mindview.

Early 1998, After All started working on new songs. As the more elaborated tracks from the "Transcendent" album - especially "Darkest Rage" and "Behind The Mask (part II)" - had grown to become both the band's and the audience's favourite tracks, it was kind of obvious what direction After All would follow. But, things didn't quite work out as expected. A lot of the new material got dumped right after it was written. The songs that survived appeared to be very diverse. Too diverse in fact to compile a coherent album...

In November 1998 the band recorded demo versions - again with producer Dee J. - of 15 of these tracks. It became a new starting point. After the recordings, almost every song was rewritten or at least rearranged, and slowly the contours of the third After All album started showing. Overall, the new stuff appeared to be more complex, moody and jam based. In a way, the tracks oppose to the rigorous three minute approach of the "Transcendent" material. The atmosphere of the songs varies from experimental noisy rock, over classic doom riffs referring to Sabbath and Vitus, to gothic and even progressive passages.

In March 1999, After All recorded - with producer Dee J. - two of the tracks that didn't fit into the concept of the upcoming third After All album. "Turn The Tide" - a rocking 70's song in true Trouble style - was featured on Watt's'On Records compilation album "Rookies I". The second track, "Exhale (including A Sweet Departure)" was meant to be featured on an independent Dutch underground heavy metal compilation called "Revelations - On Wings Through Time" - an album that remains unreleased until today. Fortunately enough, Swedish label Near Dark Productions would pick up both songs and release them as a 7 inch EP.

After the two song recording session, After All returned to their rehearsing studio to finish nine other songs which would be released as the third After All album "Dead Loss". The recording of the album took place in July 1999, with long time trustee Dee J. as producer in the Hype Studios in Aalst, Belgium. The album revealed another aspect of After All's creative power: the band didn't go back to the approach of the "Wonder" album, neither did they continue the "Transcendent" style. "Dead Loss" simply turned out to be something completely different - deep, dark and moody. The album also revealed After All's interest in and respect for the 80's metal scene, as the opening track of the album features a guest appearance by Guido Gevels, singer of Belgium's speed metal pride Cyclone.

After the recording of "Dead Loss", After All started the search for a new record deal. Lots of promises were made, but in fact: nothing happened.

Although the new album - already finished in the summer of 1999 - was still unreleased, 2000 did start out very promising.

Out of the blue the band got a message from the Swedish label Near Dark Records. A couple of days later, a deal was settled: Near Dark agreed to release the March 1999 session - "Exhale" and "Turn The Tide" - on a 7 inch vinyl EP. The songs were remastered and Jan Goossens - bass player of The Happening and long time friend of the band - put together some very cool artwork. The record - entitled "The Bereaved EP" - was set for a limited edition release of 300 copies on blue vinyl.

It was still early January 2000 when a second proposal reached After All. The offer came from Geert Baelus, the man behind the underground booking agency Zjosuah Promotions. The idea was to release a split 7" with Patriarch, Belgian power metal gods since 1983, through the brand new label CanniBaelus Records.

After All chose "No Recollection" for the project. The song had been recorded during the pre-production sessions of the "Dead Loss" album, but didn't make it to the final selection, because it was too much out of line with the other material. The EP came out in March 2000, as a limited edition of 300 copies on red vinyl, and was presented on the Zjosuah Festival at Belgium's number one metal club Biebob, where After All shared the bill with Patriarch, Witchsmeller Pursuivant and UK power metallers Shadow Keep.

Meanwhile, After All got in contact with Rokarola Records, a division of Brussels based record company Music Avenue, and started negotiations on the release of "Dead Loss". A two CD contract was signed in April, and "Dead Loss" got released in Belgium, Holland and Luxemburg by the end of May 2000. In that area the distribution taken care of by Roadrunner Records. The band presented "Dead Loss" live during a ninety+ minutes show at a fully packed Cactus Club in hometown Bruges. One of the highlights of the show was the moment when Cyclone singer Guido Gevels walked on stage, joining After All to perform "Erase Your Past", just like he did on the "Dead Loss" album. Following that, After All slammed through a stunning version of Cyclone's speed metal classic "In The Grip Of Evil", off their 1986 debut album "Brutal Destruction", this time with Guido on lead vocals and Piet on backings...

Coinciding with the release of "Dead Loss", the song "Erase Your Past" appeared as the opening track on a double CD issued by Sabam, the Belgian Society of Authors, Composers and Publishers. With the CD, the society promoted Belgian bands and artists during the 2000 edition of the international music industry fair Midem in Cannes (France).

In the summer of 2000 After All got an invitation for the Eurorock Festival, one of the major metal and gothic festivals in the Benelux area, attracting over 20,000 people. After All played on the opening night of the festival, along with such acts as Tiamat, Therion and Tristania.

By the end of the year, the "Dead Loss" album was successfully released in almost the whole of Europe - Belgium, Netherlands, Luxemburg, France, Germany, Italy, Scandinavia, Greece - and the band had played several headlining shows in Belgium. In the meantime, After All had worked on the writing and arranging of some new material.

After All started 2001 in the Hype Studios in Aalst, again with Dee J. as overall recording supervisor. The purpose of this studio visit was to record demo versions of the new songs. In only two days - one for recording, the other for mixing - the band layed down seven new tracks, totaling over fifty minutes of heavy doomladen metal.

By the end of January, After All played a show in Holland as special guest on the release party of Dutch band and label mates Wicked Mystic's "The Paramount Question" album. At the same time, After All got invited by Wicked Mystic's management Hitman Agency to join them on a six week double headlining tour throughout Belgium and the Netherlands. The Metal Grand Slam Tour 2001 - which was sponsored by the leading Dutch metal magazine Aardschok - also featured the Dutch bands Mac-11 and Non-Divine. The tour package was booked by some of the most famous clubs in Holland and Belgium - such as Paradiso Amsterdam, Podium Hardenberg and 013 Tilburg - and covered some 25 shows.

Drummer Hazy wasn't able to play the whole tour. During the first three weeks of the Metal Grand Slam, he was replaced by Ben Mussely from Meadow.

After All concluded their "Dead Loss" tour in May with a show as support act for UK's Paradise Lost. Meanwhile, the band got back to their rehearsing place to work a some more on the new songs.

Two new songs were recorded with Dee J. at the Hype Studio and released in November through Steelhunter Records as a 12 inch vinyl split EP with Belgian power metal band Double Diamond. The record - entitled "Armageddon Come" - sold out quickly and was rereleased in the Spring of 2002 as a 12 inch vinyl picture disc.

Meanwhile, the long awaited "Bereaved EP" had been released in October by Near Dark Productions from Stockholm, Sweden on blue 7 inch vinyl. In December, After All decided to team up with German producer Harris Johns and record their fourth full length album in his Spiderhouse Studio in Berlin in the spring of 2002.

After All started 2002 with a couple of live shows in Belgium and Holland to promote the release of the "Armageddon Come" EP.

Next up were a series of studio sessions. First of all, on March 5th, the band entered the Narafi television studios in Brussels, Belgium to record videos of two new tracks: "Beneath The Flesh" and "For Us Immortals". The next day, After All were hard at work at the Trax Studio in Gent, Belgium, recording two tracks in just one day: "The Devil's Pathway" and the Cyclone classic "In The Grip Of Evil". At the time of the recording session, there were no plans of releasing these tracks in the near future. But of course, it remains very likely that they will surface on an After All release one day...

Between March 23rd and April 19th, After All recorded their fourth album "Mercury Rising". A first session - tracking drums and bass - took place at the Hype Studio in Aalst, Belgium, where producer Harris Johns was assisted by Dee J.. Guitar and vocal parts were laid down - and mixing was done - at Harris' Spiderhouse Studio in Berlin, Germany. After that, it was on to the famous Music Lab in Berlin for the mastering of the album.

By the end of April, Steelhunter Records released the picture disc version of the "Armageddon Come" EP.

The rest of 2002, After All were busy renegociating their record deal with Music Avenue, with the record set for release in early 2003 on the resurrected Mausoleum Records. At the same time, the band landed a deal with TPL Records from Sweden, for the release of the vinyl edition of "Mercury Rising".

After All launched the new album "Mercury Rising" with a show at a totally packed Cactus Club in their hometown Brugge, Belgium. From there, things started to take off again... By the time "Mercury Rising" hit the shops in Europe - early March 2003 - After All were on the road as support-act of US Metal veterans Anthrax, presenting the band to the metal audiences at sold out venues throughout the European mainland.

"Mercury Rising" received praise in literally hundreds of magazines and webzines from all over Europe, where the record was generally described as an adventurous and original approach of heavy and thrash metal, and consequently as After All's best offer to date. The videos from the Narafi session were included as bonus tracks on the CD version of the album.

Word spread fast, and as a consequence After All also got invited to play the second leg of Anthrax's European tour in June. On the German dates, Prong were added to the bill as special guests. On the days off during that tour, After All set up a couple of Belgian shows for NWOBHM legends Angel Witch.

After this second tour - and with more touring planned for the fall of 2003 - After All decided to permanently team up with drummer Kevin Strubbe. He had already been replacing long time skinsman Chris 'Hazy' De Neve - who never was into touring - on both European tours with Anthrax.

In the summer of 2003, After All played several Belgian festivals, with such bands as Destruction and After Forever. The band wrapped up the year with a third European tour, supporting US outfits Overkill and Seven Witches.

In March, after a number of club shows in Belgium and Holland, After All returned to the Spiderhouse Studio in Berlin, Germany to start recording the fifth album "The Vermin Breed" with producer Harris Johns.

With the new record finished, After All continued playing live shows, such as the Dynamo Open Air Pre-Show in Eindhoven, Holland with Agent Steel and Shadows Fall, followed by a couple of club dates with Seven Witches.

Late November, After All returned to Eindhoven to play the Dynamo Metal Fest, supporting reunited cult US Metal act Helstar.