After Forever - Invisible Circles review


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Band: After Forever
Album: Invisible Circles
Release date: March 2004

01. Childhood In Minor
02. Beautiful Emptiness
03. Between Love And Fire
04. Sins Of Idealism
05. Eccentric
06. Digital Deceit
07. Through Square Eyes
08. Blind Pain
09. Two Sides
10. Victim Of Choices
11. Reflections
12. Life's Vortex

With Mark Jansen gone forming another band, namely Epica, the future of After Forever without its main composer was uncertain until the release of the Exordium EP, through which all doubts vanished from my mind concerning the band's ability to write excellent songs. With their new album, "Invisible Circles", the Dutch combo finally put an end to fans' concerns even though the die-hard fans of the "Decipher" era sound might be slightly turned off by the new direction the band has taken. For them, only one alternative arises, checking out Epica. For the others, welcome to a world where progressive metal meets symphonic gothic metal.

For the concept behind this album, I'll refer you to Ivor's excellent review. What motivated me to add something to his review is that I disagree with the fact the this album doesn't grasp the magic of "Decipher". For the rest, I agree on pretty much everything he said. While the latter is certainly more structured and easy to appreciate, "Invisible Circles" displays important progressive touches, sounding at times like Symphony X with Floor Jansen on vocals, making this album way more difficult to ingest. But once you get into it, it surely is After Forever's finest work to date. Despite some major flaws such as the awful dialogues, this record includes some really interesting songs such as 'Between Love And Fire', 'Digital Deceit' or 'Beautiful Emptiness'. But again, this comparison is hard seeing that these albums are almost in different types of metal. My progressive metal side loves "Invisible Circles".

The wider user of Sander's grunts is also a very positive aspect compared to "Decipher" while Floor's vocals are as amazing as ever. The choirs, whilst being an important part, are not overwhelming the sound and that progressive kick is really there to enhance the whole package.

It isn't the perfect album yet, but "Invisible Circles" surely sounds to me like a huge step towards that very purpose of theirs. And as our own Ivor put it, I really wonder how the arrival of prog-metal keyboardist Joost van der Broek will affect the band! My guess? You bet, it suits the new path that After Forever has taken since 2002, so it's probably going to be all good.


Written on 01.12.2004 by Bringing you reviews of quality music and interesting questions such as:

"A picture is worth a thousand words. How many words is a song worth?"

I have only got so much patience and skills, you do the math.

Staff review by
The departure of Mark Jansen, the main songwriter at the time of "Decipher", has, in a way, quite seriously changed the sound of After Forever. The changes haven't been bad but I must admit that "Invisible Circles" does not catch the magic of "Decipher"... yet. But it is nevertheless a strong release. So, let us plunge into the world of hate and pain through the eyes of a little girl.

published 30.06.2004 | Comments (5)

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