Tuesday, October 7, 2008

After Forever and an Intro to European Metal

You may recall that I mentioned in my very first post that I enjoy "various European Gothic/symphonic metal bands that no one in the United States has ever heard of." In fact, if you look at my profile, you will doubtlessly find my music list rather odd. Lacuna Coil? Flowing Tears? Nightwish? Who are these people?

Answer: they are big in Europe, but remain largely unknown here on the other side of the pond. Alas, the closest thing on the mainstream American music scene is the tragically pop-saturated Evanescence. Real Gothic/symphonic metal is powerful and operatic, with a sort of harsh beauty. One common convention - pioneered in the early '90s by Theatre of Tragedy and seen here in this After Forever video - is the use of an airy female soprano soaring over raw male death grunt vocals. Other bands, such as Lacuna Coil, have a lighter sound more on the rock side, but still very in-your-face and power-driven.

Although many combine the Gothic and symphonic, these are nevertheless distinct genres that frequently overlap with others. (Nightwish is best defined as "symphonic power metal." There's even symphonic black metal, which I generally do not listen to, although Opera IX has some good stuff.) The former (Gothic) is best described as the melancholy Goth aesthetic blended with metal's characteristic aggression - think Rambo meets Anne Rice. The latter (symphonic) is pretty self-explanatory: it's metal with symphonic elements; that is, its sound is based loosely on that of the classical symphony. Unfortunately, however, most Americans haven't really been exposed to any of this and, as a result, see metal as an overwhelming male form of music. The idea of women participating in the genre most associated with Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Korn, Metallica, Mötley Crüe, and Slayer is, quite frankly, something that many of us would have a hard time wrapping our heads around.

So without further ado, I give you After Forever's "Leaden Legacy" from their debut album Prison of Desire (that's the album artwork being used as visuals). I plan on posting more music here in the future, just to raise a small bit of awareness in my little corner of the Net.

Oh, and here are the lyrics.


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