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On disc: After All



Mercury Rising - Claudia Ehrhardt - 8 stars
The Vermin Breed - Claudia Ehrhardt - 9 stars
This Violent Decline - Claudia Ehrhardt - 9 stars
Cult Of Sin - Claudia Ehrhardt - 9 stars
Betrayed By The Gods - Claudia Ehrhardt - 8 stars
Becoming The Martyr - Claudia Ehrhardt - 9 stars
Dawn Of The Enforcer - Claudia Ehrhardt - 9 stars


www.afterall.be







Dawn Of The Enforcer

Dawn Of The Enforcer
(Ván Records - 2012)


It's almost 10 years since I came across Belgium thrashers After All with Mercury Rising. A little later I saw them opening for Anthrax - and by now many times. They played with many great bands and just now as Dawn Of The Enforcer gets into stores they are opening for Judas Priest in Antwerp.

Since singer Sammy Peleman and bassist Frederik Vanmassenhove joined the band in 2010 they released 2 EPs on their own and even toured Europe. Finally they signed the dotted line and so we finally get a new full-length album! Dawn Of The Enforcer was produced by Dan Swanö who gave it the perfect sound while Ed Repka did the artwork. After All have some guest on this album, musicians they toured with in the past and who are happy to give the fivesome a helping hand.

They kick off with Parasite Within, a powerful thrasher which features some high screams by Sammy Peleman. And it's the screams which will make you think of Agent Steel's John Cyriis, but even if there are some speed metal references the thrash roots are still audible. Again guitarists Dries van Damme and Christophe Depree fire heavy riffs and create memorable guitar lines. I guess, Sammy Peleman's vocal style is getting them the attention of a different fan base, fans of speed metal / US metal might discover them now, the same who might have had a problem with Piet Focroul's hardcore-ish vocals. What a difference! But I have to say that I like Piet Focroul's vocals, too. The songs just get a different feel... Personally I have to say I have no favorite when it comes to the singers. But one of my favorites at Dawn Of The Enforcer is Spread The Infamy which has a catchy edge and might be a good pick for checking out the album.... Songs like Timeless Machine, Becoming The Martyr, Betrayed By The Gods are known by their fans as these tracks were originally recorded for their last EP or for Cult Of Sin. It's great to give a few tracks from Cult Of Sin another chance, coz they were too good to be forgotten, just as the album was released when the label had to file bankruptcy and so the album didn't get proper promotion.

Let's hope that we don't have to wait too long for a follow up which features just new tracks. Meanwhile this is a great way to get back into the spotlight and to gives fans of the current line-up a chance to take home a CD with Sammy Peleman on mic. If you love vinyl, then you should check After All's website for vinyl releases!


9 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt
 

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Becoming The Martyr

Becoming The Martyr
(self-released - 2011)


For many it's a surprise that an unsigned band is the opening act on the Killfest 2011 tour supporting Overkill, Destruction and Heathen all over Europe. As the band had to face a line-up change since the release of Cult Of Sin and is looking for a new deal, they recorded a 5-track EP with 2 songs off Cult Of Sin and 3 new tunes and again handed them to Dan Swanö for mixing and mastering.

At Becoming The Martyr they once more offer fast drumming and heavy riffs, but also some mid-paced passages. Demolition Course could have been on Cult Of Sin, the song is exactly what you expect from After All. The last new track is Timeless Machine and gives the guitarists Dries van Damme and Christophe Depree the chance to show off their skills.

For Becoming The Martyr they re-recorded two songs from Cult Of Sin - like they did for Betrayed By The Gods EP -, this time it's Devastation Done and End Of Your World.

This EP can be purchased at their shows and via their website (8 € + P&P). Again there is only a limited number of copies, so don't waste time!


9 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt
 

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Betrayed By The Gods

Betrayed By The Gods
(self-released - 2010)


Belgium's After All are around for more than 2 decades, they played countless shows as support act incl. tours with Overkill / Seven Witches, Anthrax, Candlemass / Destruction, Fear Factory, King Diamond, Vicious Rumors / Agent Steel. They released several albums, but after Dockyard 1 filing bankruptcy they are without a contract. Due to the process of Dockyard 1 going down the drain their last album Cult Of Sin didn't get proper promotion. A line-up change followed and so they re-recorded 2 songs of Cult Of Sin with the new line-up.

They hooked up with bassist Frederik Vanmassenhove and singer Sammy Peleman. The songs sound different, a bit more US metal-like... Piet Focroul added a dash of hardcore to the thrash tune while Sammy Peleman is adding some US metal-like shouts á la James Rivera.

Betrayed By The Gods features Agent Steel's Bernie Versailles and Juan Garcia and bassist Joey Vera, so it's just the vocals which changed. The song sounds less heavy / aggressive now. It's the same with My Own Sacrifice and at the end of the day it's a matter of taste which version you prefer. But I think it's a good move to present 2 tracks from Cult Of Sin with the new line-up and hopefully more people discover them after all.

Additionally you get a 30 minute long video which was recorded while the band was in Berlin on their tour with Fear Factory. First you see some backstage impressions and Dino Cazares who tells guitarist Christophe Depree that he likes their intro best. The set of 7 songs incl. from their last 3 albums, and gives you an idea about After All live as well as a first impression of the new line-up.

The 2-track EP is only available in a limited number and the package looks like a 7" vinyl. The EP can be ordered via the bands website for 8 € + P&P. Collectors should be quick!


8 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt
 








Cult Of Sin

Cult Of Sin
(Dockyard 1 - 2009)


The Belgium thrashers After All are around for many years and been quite active the last couple of years. They not just presented good albums frequently, they played live a lot, too. With Cult Of Sin they present their latest piece of work.

Slowly they lead into Cult Of Sin with the intro Another False Prophecy - first with acoustic guitar, then the band joins in and the go full force. Towards the end you hear spoken words which sound like they were taken from some TV host... With My Own Sacrifice they storm off. The tune becomes a fast, guitar-driven modern thrasher with aggression and melody. The following Scars Of My Actions is another thrash metal track with fast drums and riffing, but Piet Focroul's vocals are a bit more based in power metal or true metal which gives the song a different atmosphere. With Betrayed By The Gods they change pace, a heavy up-tempo tune with power and aggression. At this one they have some guest, After All are joined by Agent Steel guitarists Juan Garcia and Bernie Versailles as well as Fates Warning / Armored Saint bassist Joey Vera. The guitar leads are counter part the vocal line - quite cool! After a few spins this song will haunt you! They storm off again with Devastation Done which reminds me of something, but I can't fathom it... Again they can surprise with tempi changes and unexpected twists and turns. Less fast, but almost catchy is Land Of Sin - one of my favorites - with it's heavy groove and fat riffs, this one features Andy LaRocque on guitar.. Acoustic guitar leads into Doomsday Elegy (2012) which is a kind of interlude, with Embracing Eternity they go full force ahead. But again they combine a melodic vocal line with heavy riffs and fast drumming. Even if the vocal line is melodic the vocals are also aggressive. Here singer Piet Focroul get assistance by Helstar's James Rivera. With Release they offer a quite long track with about 8+ minutes, but with speed changes they can keep the listeners attention. At the end there is a long silence, but don't stop the CD! Coz last, but not least you'll get a cover version on Dio's Holy Diver! A very heavy version! Sure, Piet can't keep up with Ronnie James Dio, so he varies a bit - and it sounds great! Different, but great!

The album is mixed and mastered by Dan Swanö. If you still don't know what to expect from After All, so check out: Betrayed By The Gods, Land Of Sin, Hollow State, Release and Embracing Eternity.


9 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt
 











This Violent Decline



This Violent Decline
(Dockyard 1 - 2006)



The Belgium thrashers are back with their 4th full-length album - This Violent Decline. The band opened up for many bands - e.g. Anthrax, Overkill, Destruction, Candlemass, Heathen, Agent Steel, Metal Church - during the years, but still many speed / thrash metal fans don't know them. Hopefully this will change with This Violent Decline!

The album kicks off with Frozen Skin, an up-tempo tune which is guitar-driven and mid-tempo parts make it more interesting. Most tracks on this CD are up-tempo, but they don't thrash the place with shredding guitars. Piet Focroul's vocals are melodic and sometimes have a slight hardcore touch. This mixture gives them a unique sound, but that's also achieved through the heavy riffing and the arrangement. Listen to Blackest Moon and you will get a good impression of their sound. The following Sacraments For The Damned is a straight ahead up-tempo tune with fast riffing and double bass drumming. With Monolith #11 the Belgium quintet presents an instrumental where they slow down a bit and this gives the guys the chance to show their skills a bit better. But then they accelerate again and Ruins Of Bones is coming over you. A catchy neck breaker! Its obvious that the band improved since the release of The Vermin Breed and also the production is better then on the previous release. Give it a try!

The album was recorded in Belgium, but was mixed by Fredrik Norström (Studio Fredman) and mastered by Tue Madsen (Antfarm Studio). But even the best can't turn crap into gold, but here they just had to ennoble the recordings.

Fans of speed / thrash metal should check this album out. There haven't been many good releases lately and so many stick to their old heroes. The band from Brügge is still underrated, but perhaps this album gets them more attention. And if they play somewhere in your area, go and watch their show! You'll enjoy them live even more then on CD! Well done!




9 stars
















The Vermin Breed



The Vermin Breed
(Dockyard 1 - 2005)

 

In 2003 I first heard of the Belgium power thrashers After All when they released Mercury Rising and toured soon after the release with Anthrax. Two years later they are back with The Vermin Breed. Some of the songs they have played live during the last year and so I was curious to hear the new album. Coz even at the live shows it became obvious that they made a huge step forward. Especially singer Piet Focroul had really improved his singing.

The opening track is called Forgotten and starts with some strange sounds... Like a deep whistle and the sound of bubbling, boiling liquid... Then the guitar riffing kicks off the song. A fast double-bass drumming and aggressive twin guitar riffing are giving the musical direction. But mid-tempo parts and a screaming guitar solo make this one interesting. Piet Focroul still has a powerful voice, but is more melodic or if necessary more aggressive this time. The following Maze Of Being is a catchy up-tempo track. A fast groover. The sound of the surf is leading into The Insufferable. Guitars joining in and singer Piet is slowly leading into this very intense heavy rocker. I don't want to describe every single song here, coz you should listen to the album! This album I recommend to fans of thrashy power metal. The guys toured with e.g. Anthrax and Overkill. Even if they don't play old school thrash metal they are interesting for fans of this genre.

To get a first impression listen to the album opener Forgotten which the band also chose to present as an appitizer on their website www.afterall.be. Beside that I can recommend The Great Divide and The Insufferable. Or listen to the slow, doomy Cascade - at the end almost balladesque - which shows a different side of After All. Not really a typical song, but a good one.

Again the band released the album on CD and vinyl. This time it's a limited blue vinyl edition which comes with a different cover artwork then the CD. Interesting for collectors, coz it's limited to 500 items.




9 stars
















Mercury Rising



Mercury Rising
(Mausoleum Rec. - 2003)


 

The Belgium quintet opened their 4th full-length album with the album titled instrumental before the track Beneath The Flesh shows the musical direction of this output. The five-piece from Belgium reminds me of US metal bands a la Omen, Helstar, Cage and the fast parts have a thrashy touch. Partly let me think of Overkill... Even if the band of guitarist Dries van Damme started back in the late 80's and released several CDs and EPs since 1992 many night have never heard of them before, well... Same with me. After All have mainly played in their home country Belgium and the Netherlands. Now with the revived label Mausoleum and a tour through Europe with Anthrax. Whispering Words is the intro for Crave For More which get's the intensity from the drum beat and the powerful vocals of Piet Focroul.

The last track is a cover version of the La Muerte song Black God White Devil. Actually I don't know the original. So I can't compare the cover and the original.

Beside that there are 2 video tracks on this enhanced CD, a kind of bonus.
Check them out!




8 stars





 

           ©2008-2014 by Claudia Ehrhardt • E-Mail: contact@ice-vajal.com


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