(04 December 2005) After Forever are back with the strongest effort to date. Entitled Remagine (Transmission Records (Netherlands) TMSP-055, 2005), the new album finds the band sounding more comfortable than they have on their previous work, particularly noticeable in regards to Floor Jansen's vocals. Not only does Floor turn in a stellar performance, this time around she sounds as if she is part of the band rather than simply fronting it.
Remagine offers a number of reasons to get excited about After Forever's potential, most noticeably in the album's top notch production. The production creates that huge sound that the band has obviously been striving for over the last few years. It suits the band very well.
The band finds a more epic sound in both the songwriting and lyrical themes on this album as well. The opening song, "Come," boasts a strong groove that is fearlessly led by Jansen's vocals. When it breaks into the song's operatic break Jansen's voice sounds as if it were inviting you into an enchanted forest, it's smooth and feminine and absolutely wonderful. The epic 'Only Everything" begins as a nearly classical piece and then explodes into a mountain of sound that grabs you and refuses to let go. The album's ending track, "Forever," boasts a slight Middle Eastern flare, injecting some very welcome new influence into their classic style.
After Forever has always seemed somewhat reserved when it came to making the heavy songs really heavy, yet maintaining accessibility to the mainstream but they accomplish this goal a number of times on Remagine (particularly with "Living Shields," "Attendance," and "No Control"). The band seems to have gotten a lot more adept at growling and grinding since Invisible Circles, which should bring them more credibility with fans of more extreme music, a category they are often lumped into.
After Forever sound excellent on this album. The songs are tight and much better written than their previous work. They have finally managed to create a truly fantastic album from imagery to delivery. Of course the key to After Forever is Floor Jansen's vocal; it has been since she joined the band in 1997. On Remagine she delivers wholeheartedly moving from lady to rock goddess flawlessly and you can't help but feel excited listening.--Mark Fisher in West Virginia and Russ Elliot in New York