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A small box of surprises - 80%

androdion, March 4th, 2012

After Forever had their fair share of single releases in the early beginning of the past decade, the first of which came as a preparation for their debut, featuring advance songs from it, while others like this one came as post-album releases with goodies for the fans. Probably a part of Transmission Records’ plan for world domination or just a plain excuse to suck some more money from the band’s fans, but the fact is that while they had little musical content they came in packed with decent artwork and some rewarding material not to be found anywhere else.

This is the first of two singles released after the band’s sophomore effort, Decipher, came out. This one, like the others, features four songs, two album versions and the other two being the main points of interest. The songs taken from Decipher and chosen to be a part of this single are “Emphasis” and “Intrinsic”, one more up-tempo and capable of inducing some headbanging moments, and the other more soothing and calm in its approach. Both songs are great and show two different aspects of the album where they were taken from, making the already known part of this single very enjoyable for those who already own it and also appealing to newcomers. There’s another song taken from Decipher here, namely “Imperfect Tenses”, but its rendition is not the same as the one found on the album. While on it the duet was made with a tenor, and it was more of an emotional and aria-like moment that felt solemn and operatic; here the invited throat for this vocal interchange is none other than Threshold’s Damian Wilson. As opposed to Rein Kolpa, the tenor who sang the original version, Damian has a much higher register and hits high notes in a very different way, resembling more like a power metal singer. This fact makes up for a very interesting variation of the original version presented on Decipher and it is well worth your time and attention.

The best part of this single though is the Queen cover, which counts with the participation of Ayeron, and again Damian Wilson, in a cascading release of spacey keyboards and bewildering vocal leads. The song “Who Wants To Live Forever” which was originally a spine-chilling duet between Freddy Mercury and Montserrat Caballé, two of the greatest voices ever, is here presented as eerily as its original version and it leaves you baffled at these musicians’ ability to pick up one the most amazing songs ever and make it their own. I’ve been quite the Queen fanboy for as far as I remember and Freddy’s voice will forever be one of my absolute favourites. With that being said, this version is very good and does a great job in perpetuating the memory of one of the best bands ever.

This single has some very interesting content to be found, choosing a couple of great songs from their previously released masterpiece and incorporating two little treats, one of which ends up sounding and being much bigger and rewarding than it was initially expected. I still get the chills every time I listen to the Queen cover found here, and while the remaining material isn’t new it’s still very much enjoyable on its own. What you find here is a great single release and a treat that most people won’t see coming, but one that will delight most of those who experience it.