After Forever - Prison Of Desire review
|Album:||Prison Of Desire|
|Release date:||April 2000|
01. Mea Culpa (The Embrace That Smothers - Prologue)
02. Leaden Legacy (The Embrace That Smothers - Pt. I)
03. Semblance Of Confusion
04. Black Tomb
05. Follow In The Cry (The Embrace That Smothers Pt. II)
06. Silence From Afar
07. Inimical Chimera
08. Tortuous Threnody
09. Yield To Temptation (The Embrace That Smothers Pt. III)
11. Beyond Me [feat. Sharon den Adel]
12. Wings Of Illusion [Japanese bonus]
13. Leaden Legacy [instrumental version] [bonus]
14. Silence From Afar [radio edit] [Chilean bonus]
First, I'm sick and tired that After Forever is always compared to Nightwish or Within Tempation because After Forever has a style that is somewhat similar to them although they are not power metal like Nightwish. Their style is not so easily defined. The wide use of background singers and classical musicians like the Embred Strings consisting of Ebred Reijen [solo violin], Noemi Bodden [violin], Janin Baller [viola], Carla Schrijner [violacello], Roxane Steffen [doublebass] and Irma Kort but they are playing on the follow-up album Decipher. On Prison of Desire however the guest appearances include Sharon Den Adel [Within Temptation] on 'Beyond Me' and the After Forever Choir: Hans Cassa [bass], Caspar De Jonge [tenor], Yvonne Rooda [alto] and Melissa 't Hart [soprano] on 'Mea Culpa', 'Leaden Legacy', 'Follow in the Cry', 'Silence from Afar' and 'Yield to Temptation'. And that's a power package none the less. But now, let's go back to what is really important, the music.
Prison of Desire opens up with 'Mea Culpa', which is a lovely choral piece backed with keyboards and filled with layers of vocals, both male and female. This short choral piece is the opener for 'Leaden Legacy', a very melodic and atmospheric song, which is contrasting Floor Jansen's classical singing with the male grunts. The third song on this brilliant album is 'Semblance of Confusion' which is a power package that again shows us the power of Floor's voice. The fourth song 'Black Tomb' is a slow ballad at first, but from the middle of the song the pace starts to speed up to a powerful instrumental piece that leaves the listener a bit short of breathe. The follow-up 'Follow in the Cry' is a hypnotic song and features some very interesting singing styles at the end of the track. 'Silence from Afar' is a bit slower but has the same style. I guess it's good to have a slower song at this point because the follow-up 'Inimical Chimera' is - like most songs on Prison of Desire - fast and yet again packed with orchestral power. Huh, I'm running out of breath here while listening to 'Tortuous Threnody' & 'Yield to Temptation' while the last one being more powerful due to the terrific grunts that yet again seems to amaze me.
The closing track 'Beyond Me' is a nice ballad between Floor, Sharon Den Adel and the grunter but every time I listen to this track it's hard to separate Floor's voice from Sharon's. They are just so similar that someone who has never listened to Within Tempation and After Forever can't tell the difference.
To conclude, I'd say that this is a good album although, on some parts, it starts to repeat itself. That can be quite frustrating sometimes but we must also consider that this is After Forever's debut album. According to the fact that the first album is almost always the most boring one, I would say that After Forever will surely surprise us with better releases in the future.
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