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After Forever (NL) - After Forever was a Dutchsymphonic metal band with strong progressive metal influences. The band relied on the use of both soprano vocals and death grunts. In February 2009, it was announced that After Forever had disbanded. After Forever was originally assembled in 1995 under the name Apocalypse, playing death metal, with harsh male vocals. With the joining of vocalist Floor Jansen in 1997, their style and sound shifted towards symphonic metal, in order to give emphasis to her soprano voice, in contrast with the grunts and screams provided by Gommans and Mark Jansen. Their line-up at this point comprised Floor Jansen, Mark Jansen, Sander Gommans, Luuk van Gerven, Jack Driessen and Joep Beckers. In 1999 the band began composing their own songs and recorded two demos entitled Ephemeral and Wings Of Illusion, which drew the attention of the DutchTransmission Records label, with whom the band signed a contract. Their debut album Prison Of Desire was recorded in 2000, featuring the guest appearance of Sharon Den Adel of the Dutch band Within Temptation on the song "Beyond Me". The album obtained very good reviews in Europe. By the end of the year, drummer André Borgman and keyboardist Lando van Gils joined the band, replacing Joep Beckers and Jack Driessen. During the year 2000, Floor Jansen was invited to guest sing in Ayreon's Universal Migrator Part 1: The Dream Sequencer album. Ayreon is the most successful of the many projects by Dutch guitarist Arjen Anthony Lucassen and this album is only the first of many other collaborations with Floor Jansen. In 2001, the band released the album Decipher, that featured for the first time live classical instruments and a live choir. The complex arrangements of the new compositions pushed After Forever's music even more towards the symphonic metal genre. In 2002 Mark Jansen, one of the main composers of the band, was fired from After Forever and subsequently assembled the band Epica, where he continued to pursue the contamination of symphonic metal with death metal elements, already present in the first two albums by After Forever. He was replaced by Bas Maas, who had been a roadie for the band for years. In 2003, the new line-up of After Forever released the EP and DVD Exordium. In 2004, the concept album Invisible Circles was released. The album, that deals with childhood traumas and abuse, introduced progressive metal elements to the music of After Forever and the use of a clean male voice. The album reached 24th place in the Dutch Top 100 musical chart. In the same year, Lando van Gils also left the band and was replaced by Joost van den Broek, a keyboard player that Floor Jansen had met during her tour with Star One. In early September 2005, the band released their fourth album Remagine. The album was produced using pre-recorded drum tracks by André Borgman, who had to take a long leave of absence to cure his illness. The songs of the album are simpler and more straight-forward than in the previous albums, preserving anyway the usual dual voice dynamic in the sound of the band. On March 3, 2006, the band left the Transmission Records label, due to the scarce promotion that the label was providing to their albums. Following this departure, Transmission Records released the Mea Culpa compilation, with plenty of rarities and b-sides. By October of the same year, After Forever had signed to Nuclear Blast Records. In the end of 2006 the band recorded their final and only album on the Nuclear Blast label, self titled After Forever. It features guest appearances from Annihilator guitarist Jeff Waters and Doro Pesch. Videos of the recording sessions were available for download on the band's website. The album was released on April 23, 2007. In January 2008, After Forever announced on their website that the band would be taking a break of at least a year, mainly to assess the health problems of vocalist and guitarist Sander Gommans, who had been absent during most of the tour supporting the album After Forever. In an interview with Ragnarök radio, Floor said the band would get together early 2009 to discuss After Forever's future. On February 5, 2009 , After Forever announced that they decided to call it quits. The long break, during 2008 and 2009, had made them realize that they did not feel the passion towards the band any longer. After the split up of the band, Sander Gommans published in 2009 the album System Overload with his solo project HDK and continues working as a high school art teacher. Floor Jansen started a new band called ReVamp and signed in 2010 a contract with Nuclear Blast for their first eponymous album. Joost van den Broek collaborated with both Gommans and Jansen on their new musical projects, meanwhile producing the Christmas Metal Symphony shows in 2008 and 2009 and Stream of Passion's second album The Flame Within. Guitarist Bas Maas joined the live band supporting German hard rock singer Doro Pesch in 2008...
Elvenking (IT) - ELVENKING may be the heroes of folky power metal! Certainly, no other band of this genre has evolved so much during the last couple of years and kept its individualism intact, but their 6th album “Red Silent Tides” is now set to prove that there’s still more in the box we weren’t expecting!With the addition of highly-acclaimed producer Dennis Ward, who was responsible for the mix, ELVENKINGhave introduced an 80’s like hard rock element that matches perfectly with the folky power metal that they are known for and the result is their most mature album to date, a record that that will solidify the status of the band immensely. Tracks like powerful opener “Dawnmelting” are unmistakably ELVENKING, so are “Runereader” and the furious “Your Heroes Are Dead”. But the anthemic “The Cabal” then arrives right from where their hit “The Divided Heart” left off in 2007, and it’s one of the standout and ultimately wonderfully creative moments of the album which proves that this band not only has a grievous heart but also a more commercial potential, with this track being chosen as the band’s first video clip. “Red Silent Tides” has other facets too: songs like “Possession”, “The Last Hour” and “What’s Left Of Me” will undoubtedly surprise; the sweetness of Hard Rock fusing beautifully with the power of the heavier moments, but honestly, this is exactly what we expect from this band and the fact that they have undoubtedly delivered their most mature(d) album to date should not be ignored. Since 1997, Italian metal pioneers ELVENKING have been an active part of the European scene steadily building a rapidly growing cult fan-base and performing around Europe, in both their home country, Budapest (where a strong set at the Sziget gathering several years ago had people talking for months), and the UK where the band appeared at the legendary Bloodstock Festival with ex Skyclad / Sabbat singer Martin Walkyier (in 2002) and at Metalfest in Dudley (2009) where the band walked away with the joint ‘Band Of The Festival’ prize sharing the spoils with Brainstorm. The band debuted on record in 2001 with the excellent "Heathenreel", but this would only be the beginning. Spreading mystic tales of fantasy and imagination to a wider audience, that album proved that their mixture of epic power metal and frisky folk was capable of instantly grabbing attention and was a lot more focused and real than many. "Wyrd", the band's second album was released in 2004, followed by another showcase of their musical individuality, "The Winter Wake", unleashed in 2006; but it was probably “The Scythe” (released in 2007) that became their biggest success so far and set the band on the current path. Not only did they dare to enhance their unique sound with some more dark/modern elements (to the delight of many), but with its strikingly bold track “The Divided Heart” they presented a high class video clip that has grabbed the attention of over one million (!) viewers on the internet, a feat that continues to this day. Their semi-acoustic 2008 follow up to “The Scythe”, “Two Tragedy Poets (...And A Caravan Of Weird Figures)” displayed their folk roots like never before and provided the band with their first European headlining tours and biggest festival bookings such as Summer Breeze but for 2010, the band has decided to return to full electric power again whilst still proving that this band has another key ace up its sleeve. The new album clearly shows where this band stands today. “Red Silent Tides” is a journey full of poetry, melancholy and bitter sweetness, but without any kind of lethargy or tackiness. It’s poetry that rocks!