Thursday, July 12, 2012

Afterlife-In The Shadows

Self Release/Independent

Heavy metal act Afterlife (a name that admittedly has been used way too much) were technically formed in 2011, but there is a little more to the story. Hailing from Sweden (Söderhamn to be exact) this group traces their roots back to the eighties and to a killer cult band known as Razorblade. When Razorblade released "Run For Your Life/Ready To Fight" in 1985 who could have foreseen that some 27 years after the release two of the band's members (bassist Fredrik Gunnarsson and guitarist Jompa Gustafsson) would release an album that rival's the excellence of that one single? Of course Afterlife actually cover "Run For Your Life" as well as pull off a killer cover of the classic Demon track "Don't Break the Circle" on "In The shadows". We are getting too far ahead of ourselves though. With Gunnarsson and Gustafsson originally meeting up with the idea of playing a few shows the duo actually transformed into Afterlife and, with the addition of drummer Pether Svedjewik, went about the process of recording what would ultimately be an instant heavy metal classic. Admittedly now the band does recycle a lot of old NWOBHM riffs (listening to this I am reminded of everyone from Angel Witch to Demon Pact to Cobra) as well as traditional heavy metal/power metal (Armored Saint, Riot, early Metal Church) without every actually sounding like any particular band in general. Does that fact matter? Probably not as much as people will make it out to be. It's the end result that counts or, just as with life boys and girls, it's how you play the game. Afterlife play for keeps. "Falling To Pieces" is so good it's actually unreal. "Buried Alive" is the way heavy metal should be-crunchy, heavy, dark and with just enough speed to make you want to bang your head. I'm not saying that the band's two opening numbers (the title cut and "End Of Days" are both quite good), but man does this album ever seem to get only better with each unfolding track. "Dying Alone" sounds like older 80's metal with enough of a modern power metal punch to really get your blood pumping. With Jompa Gustafsson now handling lead vocals (as well as guitars) the gritty factor has been turned up a notch or two (OK, a lot!). Jompa's vocals are just raw enough to make this feel raw without every going into Lemmy territory or anything. Both the vocals and guitars seem almost perfect as does the rhythm section. These three are the definition of a power trio. "Why" and "Toxic" sizzle and crack with heavy metal fire. As stated the Demon cover is simply epic, but then ago so is the old Razorblade cover. It's been given a modern tweak that makes you see this old cult number in a whole new light. Fact is this album just might end up making my best of for 2012 it's just that good. Managing to sound both classic and modern at the same time is not the hard part. No, the hard part is pulling those two things off and sounding timeless and epic at the same time. Afterlife manages all of that and more. I have not been this excited about something wonderful just falling into my lap since...well, other then my girlfriend Carrie, I can't honestly remember. "In The Shadows"is available to buy at their website and can be picked up on Ebay as well:

Just a small head's up though. I can't be certain, but (just like with the three loves of my life- my kids and girlfriend) this looks to be a limited edition run. In other words, you snooze you lose. I wouldn't suggest then that you sleep on this one especially if your a fan of classic/traditional heavy metal (with hints of NWOBHM and power metal). In a word, this one is "epic".

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Anonymous Emelie said...

Feel just the same - I must say a fucking magnificent review of a fucking amazing CD!!!

2:36 PM  
Blogger Andy said...

I know, my kids and girlfriend are wonderful! LOL!

3:50 AM  
Blogger Andy said...

Seriously though this album kicks serious metal ass. Insane just how good it is!

3:51 AM  
Anonymous Nwobhm said...


3:44 PM  
Blogger Andy said...

Have to agree. Such a killer group and killer album!

7:08 AM  

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