AFTER FOREVER + NIGHTMARE + AMARAN (Madrid, January 21, 2004)
Now, there's a band I've wanted to see live for quite a while, Dutch metallers After Forever, so when the chance came I just couldn't pass on it. Not too many people showed up for the gig, so it was about 350-400 people in the venue which can hold 600. This time, for a change, I arrived early to the venue, as I had an interview set up with the band, so I could see all of the bands. This was the only show in the French-Spanish tour in which the Spanish band Dark Moor wasn't playing, as they preferred to present their new album live in Madrid on their own in better conditions.
Amaran didn't say anything to me, having not listened to them before I didn't know what to expect actually. The sound wasn't good enough and their female singer couldn't make herself heard in the venue. They left the audience a bit cold. Right next were Nightmare, a French metal band who play classic heavy metal, they are good ad it, and put up a decent show, but I couldn't help getting the feeling that it's 2004 and not 1984 anymore so the whole thing seemed a bit old fashioned to me and not fitting to the line up well. Anyway they warmed up people enough for the main band.
After Forever put up an excellent show, good lights, really good sound and a strong performance by the band. They might sound gothic on records but live they are definitely a metal band. Specially note worthy was the clever use of prerecorded material which I expected it was going to be half of the stuff but it wasn't. Just some minimal orchestrations and choirs and that was it. The band themselved managed to recreate well enough the sound of the records, adding an extra dose of power and guts. Sander Gommans delivered an intense and passionate work on grunts which he made clear enough to be understandable which ain't easy when playing live. The sound mix was perfect with every instrument in its place and at the right level and above all the crystal clear angelical yet powerful voice of Floor Jansen. Undoubtely one of the best operatic voices of the genre, and incredible to see how she moves and dances a lot but never miss hitting a note. She and the rest of the band act in a very simple, friendly way onstage, always smiling, dancing and happy, and that earns the sympathies of the audience as well.
After Forever played most of the songs from the new EP Exordium, except the Randy Crawford cover, and gave a good review of their two previous albums, Prison of Desire and Decypher. The whole show was of the finest order but I'd like to point that the songs in Exordium work better live than on the record (which left me a bit cold), specially My Choice, that was performed with a lot of passion by Floor and the guys. Other highlights were the Iron Maiden cover that was very welcomed by the strangely enough classic heavy metal audience, Yield To Temptation or the encore with Emphasis and Follow In The Cry. All in all an excellent show by the Dutch band who surely gained a good number of fans that evening. Let's hope to see them live again soon over here.
and photos by Jorge Antonaya
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