After Forever - Exordium

Year of Release: 2003
Label: Transmission
Catalog Number:
Format: CD
Total Time: 26:41:00

After Forever is back, and how! Not with a full length album, although that is planned for 2004, but with a stunning mini album, that features four brand new songs and two covers. It was about time, as the last recording, Decipher, dates back from 2001. Of course Floor Jansen (vocals) has been active, in working with Arjen Lucassen (Ayreon), both on his Star One album as well as the Star One live tour. Also, the band has had a change in the line up, as Bas Maas (guitars) joined the band. And, of course, the band has been working on new material, of which the first audible evidence is now presented, in the form of a mini album with the eloquent title Exordium.

Exordium is a concept album, in the way that the themes of the songs are related. The idea for a concept came from Sander Gommans (guitars, grunts). Exordium means "harbinger of speech," an aptly chosen title as both the mini album as well as the concept are leading to the new, full length album, on which the concept will be continued.

The album opens with an instrumental song, "Line Of Thought," with a grown After Forever sound, with heavy riffs, but also acoustic guitar, played by drummer Andre Borgman, and, of course, the orchestral arrangements. Where this songs ends, "Beneath" begins, a song about street rage. A song with the familiar AF sound, but with fantastic vocals by Floor Jansen. Her vocals have grown very much and she uses different aspects of her voice, not just the soprano parts, which makes it even more a delight to listen to her. The songs has the familiar AF sound, with great guitar work by Maas and Gommans. "My Choice" could be called a ballad, as it has passionate vocals and ditto guitar, choir, but no really heavy parts. The theme is about choice and how it relates to freedom, with a chorus that I can't seem to get out of my head. The last of the new AF songs, "Gloryfing Means," shows the After Forever we knew from Decipher: brutal grunts, heavy riffs, choir and the wonderful soprano vocals, as well as the Arabian string arrangements. The theme of this song is drug abuse, and it shows they did not pick your average "I love you forever" themes, but things we are confronted with in everyday life and in the media.

The first cover is one they have played for many years, so it no strange choice: "The Evil That Men Do," by Iron Maiden. Well, I don't know which choice to make: Floor joining Maiden, or Bruce Dickinson joining AF, as the songs is played in a way I think Maiden can't do better and the vocals are very good, maybe not with the power of Dickinson, but certainly close to it. The second cover is less obvious, maybe even very strange: "One Day I'll Fly Away" by Randy Crawford. If you know the original, you understand why this is a strange choice, but ... the result is very good! The have turned a soul classic into a true heavy metal song, and that is what they wanted to do: "We wanted to do a cover from the 80s and preferred a quiet song so we could change it into something After Foreverish. And we did!" according to the liner notes in the booklet.

I can only advise you to buy the 2CD edition, 'cause it has a nice DVD with a very professionally made video clip of "My Choice" as well as a live version of "The Evil That Men Do." Also "The Making of ... My Choice" is very nice to see, with the band playing the theme of Pippi Longstocking on stage! For a mini album I find they have put a lot of time, energy and money in it and it looks fantastic, sounds fantastic, shows a grown After Forever and has lots to offer. A killer album that tastes for more ... but will keep you busy until they can release the full length album, which will compensate plenty for the lack of grunts, only in one song, on this album. Oh, did I mention the DVD is both in 5.1 Dolby Surround as well as 5.1 DTS??? Well, it is! And hearing AF in surround ... is heaven.

Similar Bands: Nightwish, Epica

[This review originally appeared at the ProgPower Online review site -ed.]

CD: Line of Thoughts (instrumental) / Beneath / My Choice / Glorifying Means / The Evil That Men Do (Iron Maiden cover) / One Day I'll Fly Away (Randy Crawford cover)

DVD: DVD: My Choice (video) / Making of? My Choice / Studio Recordings / Slide Show / Artwork

Floor Jansen - vocals
Sander Gommans - Guitar, grunts
Bas Maas - Guitars
Lando van Gils - Synths
Luuk van Gerven - bass
Andre Borgman - Drums, acoustic guitars

Ephemeral (1999)
Wings Of Illusion (1999, demo)
Prison Of Desire (2000)
Follow In The Cry (2000) (CD single)
Decipher (2001)
Emphasis (2001) (CD single)
Monolith Of Doubt (2002) (CD single)
Exordium (2003, EP)
My Choice (2003) (CD single)
Invisible Circles (2004)

Genre: Progressive/Power Metal

Origin NL

Added: November 1st 2003
Reviewer: Marcel Haster
Artist website:
Hits: 1338
Language: english


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