Formed in 2011 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, AfterTime is a band that blends symphonic and cinematic elements into a massive sound that fills the entire space it occupies. They use both clean and harsh vocals while also adding backing vocals in a layered way to create their own choir. This is held aloft by cinematic metal meant to take the listener on a sonic journey. So, sit back, and let’s take a trip through this epic recording.
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- Sarah Wolf – Vocals
- Brad Sturgis – Guitars, Harsh Vocals
- Chris Radke – Guitars
- Lucas Weide – Bass
- AJ Blakesley – Drums
Infinite Legacy was independently released in November 2021. This disc offers two versions of most songs, a lyrical and an instrumental version. The instrumental versions add even more orchestration than the regular tracks, adding to the beauty and grandeur of the songs. Not many bands can create something this epic and elegant. AfterTime has done just that.
- Infinite Legacy
- Forge Your Destiny
- The Dream Is Still Alive
- A Voyage Remembered
- Infinite Legacy (Instrumental)
- Forge Your Destiny (Instrumental)
- Reflection (Instrumental)
- The Dream Is Still Alive (Instrumental)
The title track, “Infinite Legacy,” is an opus. Opening with a few sound effects, moving to a voice and piano, then crashing in with a fantastic guitar riff, the song is immediately appealing. Adding horns for part of the intro and later having what sounds like a flute, this song is everything symphonic metal is supposed to be. Sarah’s vocals, ranging from quiet and subdued chest voice to soaring head voice then into a glorious belt, drive this track. The choir adds depth, especially when the voices seem to carry on under the guitar solo. Lyrically, the song is the journey from the start of humankind to now, full of trials and tribulations, victory and loss, growth.
“Forge Your Destiny” sees more horns but adds harsh vocals, bringing Brad into the mix. Sarah adds a little grit to her voice in places, showing she has a lot of power in multiple ranges. The drums are so solid on this song. Venturing away from the riff, AJ really steps out and plays a huge part in this song. The almost tribal beats in some areas are killer and really allow the tempo shifts to make a huge impact. Those shifts are quite nice, adding a progressive metal element to the song.
“Reflections” goes a different direction altogether at the opening. Gentle piano, cello, and melodic vocals usher in the portion of the journey where the protagonist is learning something about themselves and their world. This sets them apart from the crowd and makes them the focus of the story. The song builds beautifully with a few key things to note. The guitars come in late, but they bring with them a series of impassioned screams from Sarah that are beyond excellent. Her vocal ability is magnificent. The crescendo for this song is so well done. That is exactly how that song needed to conclude.
The next track, “The Dream Is Still Alive,” wraps the lyric portion of this tale. There are a few electronic music elements in here, adding something extra to this composition. The choir is again a very present and welcome addition. The vocals throughout this record are phenomenal. Brad, Chris, and Lucas all rock on this track. Backed by a killer bassline, that riff is a joy to behold. The guitar solo is perfectly in tune with the rest of the song, adding eloquence, not overshadowing everything. The orchestral pieces reinforce the whole song.
The rest of the record is instrumental. “A Voyage Remembered” wraps the journey by bringing all the musical elements and phrases to an epic conclusion. Again, the orchestration fits into the song beautifully. This is what you hear as the heroine arrives home and the credits start to roll on the screen. This album is a soundtrack; now we just need the movie. The instrumental versions of the other four songs are something you need to hear after listening to the lyric versions. The beefed-up orchestration brings the songs to life in a new and different way. AfterTime has created a masterpiece.
This is not a normal symphonic metal record. It is more. Lots of bands experiment with violin or cello. AfterTime adds horns and wind instruments to the mix and gets it exactly right. They are pushing the limits and setting standards. This band needs to do a show with a complete orchestra backing them, something along the lines of what Within Temptation and Epica have done. This record is a journey that needs to be taken properly, with lots of fanfare and a major showcasing.
I can only imagine what this band sounds like live. I hope to hear that at some point in the near future. Whether stripped down and rocking with just the guitars, bass, and drums or in front of a full symphony orchestra, this is a band that can, and probably does, own the stage. They should. The music is that good.
- Guitars – 10
- Rhythms – 10
- Vocals – 10
- Songwriting – 10
- Production – 10
- Overall – 10