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Tides of Great Musical Act - 95%

kimiwind, September 30th, 2010
Written based on this version: 2008, CD, Independent

Aftermath is a side project band by some members of Lapis Lazuli. Their first output was a full length, or better say, a follow up of their first demo release Last Hour. A fresh new start with a modified line-up including a female vocalist, was the right boost to blow a new life in their musical production. Tides of Sorrow contain roughly 9 songs including an intro and an outro in total time of nearly 37 min. Somehow, the song writing in this release hasn’t changed that much if it’s compared to the one of their first breath, Lapis Lazuli'Last Hour. This is, as you will understand, a straight forward symphonic power metal album with soft female vocals and occasional male tones. However, the mere difference here is that Marie Fjallstrom is no longer active with the band as they hired an American singer Melissa Mcdonell.

Let’s get back to the main talk here, the musicianship includes a lot of orchestrations done by the keyboardist Timo Hautamaki. Those keyboards are working so well in this album. Timo knows how to spread a good atmosphere to fit in with the rest of the players, and that’s the right thing to do when you have a skilled keyboardist. The melodies and atmosphere are either used in the front or sometimes backing-up the rest of instruments delivering catchy symphonies throughout the album. They range from majestic lovely melodies like in the tracks 9,2, Broken wings and Tides of Sorrow, to head-banging effects like in the tracks White Swan, Dark Lady Anthem and Symphony of Death.

The other instruments aren’t there sitting and watching. But no, they actually accomplish a great job supporting the keyboards. The guitars, led by Johan and Tobias are extremely effective as they add a great back to back role with the keyboards. I was amazed by the nice acoustic intro in the song Returning to life, which was very well done and had a romantic approach as I think of it. The guitars are also well supported by monstrous bass lines as they add this heavy touch to the musicianship, 9_2 is a good exemple. And thanks to the very good production, they are very distinguishable. The drums here are consistent; consolidating the sound with various and decent patterns, mostly mid-paced and with occasional double pedals work. Although, they sound like they were buried in the mix, not really a great thing when you have such potential.

The vocals part here is very interesting, especially after the arrival of the native English speaker Melissa Mcdonell. Somehow, and unfortunately, the singer of Lapis Lazuli was dropped from aftermath’s line-up due to some personal circumstances and consequently the American Melissa was hired, and she was the right one to fill up the vocals duties. However, Melissa’s vocals are quite different and have this special tone that I like personally. You will thoroughly hear some nice unique episodes of her singing festival that shall give you piles of peaceful relaxing atmosphere. I was totally hooked up by the song Returning to life, simply because this is the most unique track regarding her vocal work. It has a romantic approach and will likely leave you with tears falling down as you hear it. Occasionally, Timo contributes with harsh vocals to break the rhythm and amplify the sound, like in the track White Swan.

Tides of Sorrow is the right album to pick if you seek original music. The song-writing here is very professional bearing the fact that this band is still young and this was only their first full length. These guys should continue on this path because their music is highly enjoyable and very consistent. Every metalhead must give this a chance as it may appeal to most of the folks and not particularly symphonic melodic metal fans. However, the band has changed name again to Lapis Lazuli keeping the same line-up and sound. A prospective second full length shall see light later this year, so definitely you should keep an eye on these guys and their ambitious music. Meanwhile, go and order a sweet copy of this masterpiece and add it to your collection because this is a worthy album whatever the price it may cost you.

Written for Encyclopaedia Metallum 30-09-2010
© Kimiwind

"Catchy as hell"-metal - 95%

ruigeroeland, August 8th, 2008

Aftermath is a new Symphonic Metal band from Sweden, basically consists of the band Lapis Lazuli (also a Symphonic Metal band) with a different vocalist. The band formed in 2007 and after a year of work released their first album “Tides of Sorrow”.

The album starts out with a lengthy intro track, aptly called “The Calm Before the Storm” which features bombastic synths and drums accompanied with Gregorian chant like male vocals. This is really marvellously done I must say, it is the kind of music you would expect at the start of an epic movie and works like magic as a start of the disc. Next up is “Broken Wings”, which displays one of Aftermaths styles of playing. The music on the first half of the disc is highly melodic, even somewhat “happy” perhaps, with a big role for the keyboard melodies (which are quite ingenious and highly catchy I might add). The guitar is present for most of the time and has some nice riffs giving the music just enough punch to still be metal.

Starting with “White Swan” the music gradually builds up the “brutality” level, peaking with the track “9:2”, which features a fast riff, upbeat drumming and some harsh male vocals. “Symphony of Death” is the highlight of the disc, mixing the bombast of the intro track with pounding metal riffs and drums.

Lead singer Meliesa has a crystal clear and highly enjoyable voice. There is occasional use of harsh male vocals (which take on a larger role on the second half), but most of the vocal work is handled by Meliesa.

If they play it right, Aftermath might be one of the metal bands with commercial success both within and outside of the metal scene, because they managed to create an album packed with highly catchy tracks. Especially the first half of the album could easily have a commercial appeal whilst the songs on the second half could appeal to fans of symphonic and melodic metal.

I seem to have some luck finding new killer bands lately, because this once again is a band that completely took me by surprise. I will definitely keep an eye on these guys in the future.