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The spoken parts destroyed a decent CD - 50%

SouthernWind, June 7th, 2006

Well, I'm not saying nothing new considering AFTER FOREVER before and post Mark Jansen as two completely different bands. The highly melodic pseudo-operatic stuff this band is making today has little to do with the obscure and bloodchilling "Prison Of Desire" and "Decipher" albums, and the new direction taken is actually closer to the Power Metal scene rather than to the so-called "Gothic" stuff in which they once highlighted.

Even considering how much I like Mark's era, I don't see this radical change in AFTER FOREVER's music as something bad. After the old mastermind left, it was the logical path to walk, and with the EP "Exordium" they demostrated that can still write awesome shit.

Let pass now to "Invisible Circles". Its first notable element is that it's a conceptual album, and that's exactly the first thing in which it fails. The story told about the tragic story of a girl with a dreadful relationship with her parents is no more than a cheap cliché, and you certainly need a stronger idea (and better lyricists) to write this kind of albums. And well, the worst is about to come now... to make the story more explicit, a few spoken dalogues were added, simbolizing fights between the girl's parents. They're just pathetic, an aweful pseudo-theatrical attempt that makes you feel a mix of shame and pity. The simple deed ok knowing that spoken shit is there, had prevented me to listen to "Invisible Circles" a lot of times.

Musically, this is not a highly inspired but a rather decent album. It's very subtle, without the bombast of most of its genre-mates. The overall rhythm is fast enough to keep you interestd all the time and songs are varied enough, although it has some ultra-mellow spices that fucks some of the enchantment. On the other hand, Floor's vocal performance is very convincing, athough by times she seems like trying to imitate Tarja Turunen with her vocal lines. Unfortunately the growling is weak and misplaced, and once again, it seems to be put artificially to make coherent the father's part on the story, instead of be made under purely musical purpose.

I would not recommend you to buy "Invisible Circles", having this band so much better material to offer. It still has some good songs, a kind of blissful ambient and a very nice melodic game, but everytime when you begin to think this could be actually a pretty decent album, come the spoken parts and fuck it all.