#AfterInfinity After Infinity

15 min read

Band: After Infinity
Title: After Infinity
Label: Mauste Records
Release Date: 13 March 2024
Country: Finland
Format reviewed: High-Quality Digital Recording

“Echoes of Power: After Infinity‘s Debut – A Sonic Masterpiece in Motion”

After Infinity‘s self-titled album is set to drop on March 13th via Mauste Records. Featuring 9 tracks, including notable singles “I Surrender to You”, “A Game of Chess”, “Crown of Clowns” and “Without You”, the album blends heavy metal, power metal, and soulful melodies. Addressing themes of war and political unrest, the lyrics maintain a hopeful undertone. Boasting 5 skilled vocalists, the album caters to both metal enthusiasts and those who appreciate narrative depth in music. After Infinity‘s debut delivers a resonant and diverse musical experience. Join me as we delve into this 9-chapter musical voyage guided by After Infinity. In my humble opinion, this is one of the standout albums of 2024. Join me to enjoy the musical excellence unveiled throughout this exceptional journey.!” (Elyna Steel).

Finnish band After Infinity led by skilled Zsolt Szilagyi, defies genre boundaries with powerful compositions and dynamic vocals, in charge of renowned guest singers: Nitte Valo (Dreamtale, Ex Battle Beast), Mikael Salo (Ex Metal de Facto, Ex Dyecrest, Ex Everfrost), Leonard F. Guillan (Ex King Company), Stephen Baker (Frozen Factory), and Juanma Draven (singer in Carved in Ashes).

The band’s rhythmic base is in the hands of Roi Partanen (Everfrost) in bass, orchestrations by Gideon Ricardo, and mixing by Benji Connelly (Metal de Facto, Everfrost). Mika Jussila adds mastering finesse at Finnvox Studios. Visual charm is created by Lauri “Läpä” Koivusalo’s photos and Musicpro1o1’s logo design. Zsolt Szilagyi, the lead guitarist and creative force, personally made the album cover, bringing you into an immersive musical ride that is totally out of the ordinary, promising an epic experience.

 The 9 chapters of this story are the following:

1. Calm Before the Storm
2. I Surrender to You ft. Leonard F. Guillan
3. A Game of Chess ft. Mikael Salo
4. Do What You’ve Got to Do ft. Leonard F. Guillan
5. Crown of Clowns ft. Mikael Salo
6. Capital Punishment
7. Without You ft. Nitte Valo
8. The Power Beyond His Fight ft. Stephen Baker
9. Two Restless Hearts ft. Nitte Valo & Juanma Draven

With that being said, let’s dive into the opening page of this amazing tale.

Track 1, “Calm Before The Storm” is a charming 1:18 piece with lovely piano melodies, atmospheric keyboards reminiscent of a music box, and melancholy flutes in the first seconds. Then there is a swift. I can hear the loud ringing of several timpani and the melody of a beautiful, dramatic symphony. It is so incredible that it makes me feel like I am on the edge of a great abyss about to fall – or climb to a peak at the speed of light. This feeling of amazement, adrenaline and sweet tension before starting an unknown adventure is precisely what this wonderful intro produces in me. It’s truly awesome! Well done, guys!

The upcoming track is titled “I Surrender to You” with 04:30 and features Leonard F. Guillan from “King Company“.

It has a lively composition in a 4/4 time signature and is played at a fast tempo. The song begins with a powerful drum roll that grabs your attention, followed by a rich melodic section in brighter tones that boosts the overall energy. Leonard’s mid-range is showcased in the introduction, with vocal harmonies in the pre-chorus leading to more intense main vocals in the chorus. The chorus features consistent choral vocals in three tones while the rhythmic base explodes powerfully, giving you goosebumps! After an instrumental section where keyboards take the lead, the guitars perform a modern, insane solo with plenty of delicious pickings and slides. The last pre-chorus with Leonard singing sweetly leads to the final section, similar to the prior choruses but accelerating the pace to the point of madness and ending abruptly after a brief sustain from Leonard. ¡In a word, phenomenal!

The storyline explores the journey of a man who falls in love with “a Lady of a Thousand Delights”. Impossible to resist, he declares himself surrendered to her, who after visiting him in his bed- only God knows what she did to him to leave him so enamoured- disappears without a trace.

Yes, beautiful story, ¿but could it be a woman? Or would it be an Incubus? Would it be Lilith?

Nobody knows, so guys, be careful not to leave your windows open because you may fall under the charm of some wonderful woman who will make you touch the sky but then…she disappears! You are warned!

Track 3 is “A Game of Chess”. What a thoughtful song! Running for 06:28 minutes, the story is based on the war between Ukraine and Russia, portraying the thoughts of a man called to join the army for the upcoming conflict. The letter, the order that he can’t refuse, leads him to question the reasons for going to kill people—beings of his kind—to defend the interests of those who hold power. Why should he go? Why obey? He doesn’t care about “this game of chess.” He knows he is nothing more than a sacrificial pawn, forced to be on the front lines with many others in the same position. The Dictator defines their destiny, so he faces the war hopelessly, knowing he will have to leave his loved ones behind. His broken heart asks: “Do I really have to depart?” while nations observe them go to death without doing something to avoid the bloodshed.

This is the terrible destiny for the poor soldiers of all nations, forced to fight against other human beings, having Death following them closely, forced to be part of a senseless game of chess. Stunning lyrics!

The composition is in a 4/4 time signature with a slow tempo that varies in pulse throughout. It begins with the chorus melody – a captivating rhythmic base and a symphonic melody, reminiscent of a movie soundtrack—creating a cinematic, powerful sound that sends a big chill down your spine.

I urge you all to pay close attention to the China cymbal in this part of the song. The way it adds to the drama is impressive, you feel like there is a lump in your throat, it is insane!!!

Vocals start then with Mikael Salo’s unmatched voice, the first verses alternate between clean and raw phrasing while moving up and down in tone. The following sections are poignant pre-chorus and chorus with multiple voices—the main, mid-tone, mixed voice— performed with such intensity and passion that it evokes a sense of many men walking towards the battlefield with heavy hearts, ready to face their fate. At times, Mikael’s singing reminds me of a lullaby and a desperate cry for help simultaneously.

Man oh man, Mikael is an out-of-this-world singer!

The rhythm section, including the bass, riffs, and keyboards, is simply delightful. The melody feels like a great wheel that moves smoothly and powerfully, making the overall sonic experience extraordinary. This sound pattern stays consistent until the section after the second chorus. Here, we reach a guitar section—what a wonderful part! Two guitars create beautiful harmonies, with chords and arpeggios in different scales perfectly synchronised and brilliant. Then, we hear a sort of march with plenty of hails and a mid-tempo keyboard that is amazing, giving pace to the final chorus sections.

As the song concludes, Mikael skillfully interprets the last two lines, ascending in tone with a powerful sustain. The final line is impactful, as he elevates the pitch to an insane bright yet dense treble, creating a wonderful and goosebump-inducing moment, for then concluding with an abrupt but powerful end. Epic! Honestly, this stands out as one of my cherished tracks from the album and holds a place among my all-time favourites! And Mikael truly takes the spotlight on this track. What a voice for God’s Sake!

Continuing this journey we find “Do what you’ve got to do” which is the fourth track enduring 04:15’.  It is a song about a long and heartfelt farewell. Someone must do what is needed, not looking back but moving forward in the hope of being reunited with their loved ones after a long journey, which is requested by the protagonist to carry on serenely, since the separation is not goodbye, but a see-you-soon.

Personally, this lyric struck a chord with me – when we lose a loved one due to an illness, or accidents, we dream of the reunion, of the possibility of seeing them again, that that goodbye was not such but just a until. soon. Unpretentious, wonderful lyrics.

The sonic pattern is alike other metal ballads, but the vibe is another tale. Soft, lovely atmospheric violins and keyboards, then a melancholic piano and Leonard entering the stage singing in mid-tone. He surprised me with its beautiful nuances and the vibe of eloquent melancholy that he conveys in the first lines. Moving forward, we reach the convergence of the rhythmic base with Leonard’s voice in an explosion of colours and emotions—a wonderful moment in the song. Following this, a beautiful guitar duet performs a harmonical solo, reminiscent of grand Glam Metal ballads.

There is a brief intimate chorus, just piano at the beginning and then it explodes again in the last portion of the track, with majestic power. The voice maintains its medium tone, being accompanied by brief high-pitched vocal harmonies, ending in a soft piano melody and Leonard vocalizing sweetly.

A brief, accurate definition of this ballad is as follows: sublimely beautiful!

The next track is “Crown of Clowns” lasting for 05:16’ and it’s the fifth track on the album. Mikael Salo takes the lead vocals on this one, so we can expect this track to be a total blast!

Donald Trump is the protagonist of the lyrics. He is running for reelection to the presidency of the United States. And the people seem to be going to re-elect him – despite all the disasters he has caused in his administration, of all the evil he has unleashed in his country and abroad, people still seem to believe him. So at this point apathy occurs in those who see the Crown of Clowns placed on that man’s head. They understand that it does not matter who is in the White House because the US modus operandi is the same. People are the only ones who can bring about change, but they can’t see it, so they will reap what they sow. Thought-provoking, to the bone!

In terms of music, the song has a fast 4/4 rhythm. Powerful bass riffs start this act, then guitar and keyboard riffs play, which in my opinion, convey exactly a circus vibe, of a clown doing his tricks and being applauded for it – all in tune with the lyrics. The pulses of the rhythmic base are varied, with exquisite progressive nuances.

Afterward, Mikael Salo sings in such a way that reminds me of an eloquent circus announcer aiming to captivate the audience. He delves completely into the essence of the lyrics – the tragedy of Donald Trump’s re-election. Mikael employs a perfect mixed voice, seamlessly transitioning to a lower tone. He then astonishes me with a raw growl in lower notes that never fails to blow my mind

The chorus is incredibly expressive, featuring a harmonious multi-voice choir layered upon the thunderous rhythmic base. It evokes in me the imagery of a protest march, where people, disillusioned by that man, unite their voices in unison to sound the alarm, criticize, and call for reflection. The change of tempo, the battery’s power, and its impressive roll at the end of each chorus, the sharp riffs, and the keyboards create an atmosphere of denunciation that gives me chills!

The sound pattern remains consistent until a guitar solo section roars to life after a catchy introduction by the bass, drums, and keyboards, similar to the one at the beginning. The guitar solo features amazing slides, arpeggios, and fast sweep picking that fills you with energy and sets the stage for the final section. This last section is full of rolls and progressions that build upon the rhythmic base – yes, all instruments create these rolls. It’s truly awe-inspiring! After this, the last chorus section explodes, ending the song abruptly at the same time as the final vocal line. This is another one of my favourite songs from the album, a masterpiece!

The sixth track on this album is another of my favourites. “Capital Punishment”, an instrumental that lasts 03:28’ just blew me away. It has a vibe similar to bands like DGM and Labyrinth, especially their song “Lady Lost In Time.” The tempo is quick, keeping a 4/4 time signature. The atmosphere of the track swifts between dark and light and between progressive and pure power metal in an exquisite succession.

By the way, the whole rhythmic base, including all instruments, is filled with fascinating progressive chord progressions. But let’s talk about the guitar solos—they’re incredible! Not only do they play, but they also sing with a great deal of emotion… The mix of bright and dark chords, slides, pickings, and riffs, in addition to demolishing drums, creates a captivating journey. It is the kind of music that leaves you speechless, almost like you are stuck to the ceiling.

In this song, the band’s skill shines through even without the vocals. It feels smooth and natural. That comes together confidently when each band member understands their role and why they’re doing it. It’s the magic that happens when each musician finds their place, creating something truly wonderful, just like in this song.

The following track is “Without You”, placed 7thlasting 04:15’ and featuring Nitte Valo on vocals. This enduring love ballad evokes the spirit of those epic romantic songs found in Glam Metal. Even at times, I found “Alone” by the powerful Heart, with a modern sound.

A breakup, a departure, and the feeling that we have to move on but that it feels like an odyssey, since the one we love will no longer be part of our life. It is like having left the ice for many years, having gotten used to the sun, the heat, and the colours of life and suddenly having to return to the ice and learn to live with it again, learning to survive in the eternal Winter, alone.

The track follows a mid-tempo, 4/4 time scheme, beginning with a thunderous, glam rhythmic base and riffs. Then Nitte enters the stage singing in brilliant mid-range over a melancholic melody- that does not lose its power.

In the verses, the guitars skillfully introduce chords with rests, while the chorus features compelling and engaging riffs. Nitte’s vocals in this section evoke a resonance reminiscent of Vince Neil (Mötley Crüe), capturing the stark and heartfelt essence of the lyrics through her interpretation.

After the second chorus, there is a brief intermezzo including vocals. Then, the outstanding, glamorous guitar solo is perfectly performed. Then the last chorus on a higher note, Nitte shining, the rhythmic base exploding and the lovely guitar riffs carrying us to the end of the track, in a denser tone but balanced with precious bell sounds.

Lovely song, appealing for glam metalheads- or any metalhead who likes clean riffs, medium-tempo ballads, and ripped, powerful vocals. Nice track.

Track 8 is “The Power Beyond His Fire”, the longest track of the album, enduring for 08:01 – the journey feels way shorter, in any case!

Once again, we find ourselves amidst the Russia-Ukraine conflict, as depicted in the touching lyrics of this track, poignantly performed by Stephen Baker.

At the beginning of the song, we hear a speech. A man – Volodímir Zelensky, the beloved President and National Hero for the Ukrainian people- thanks all the nations that united them against the violent aggression from the part of Russia. There is a demand for punishment against Mr. Everybody Knows His Name as well (a being reminiscent of “Lord Voldemort”, let’s say) for the crimes committed as a result of the war started against Ukraine, where thousands of innocent people – as always – have died at the hands of crossfire, bombs, attacks on strategic places in the middle of the civilian population.

Afterward, Zelensky asks the Ukrainian man to be filled with courage and go to the battlefront, not allow the army of the foreign Tyrant to come and conquer what is his and his brothers. The Ukrainian men, along with Zelensky, must fight for what is right – the freedom to be an autonomous people, and the defense of his nation’s sovereignty despite weapons and fire, beyond the fire of the Tyrant. Young people and adult men must respond, knowing that many are going to sacrifice themselves. After all, “every single step to peace was paved with tragic goodbyes.”

Immense and emotional lyrics, to the point that it is inevitable to feel chills running down your spine!

The track follows the Avantasia/Ayreon style with progressive undertones reminiscent of Dream Theater. It carries a dramatic and imposing vibe, maintaining a 4/4 time signature throughout. The mid-tempo Andante gradually shifts to a faster tempo at the last minute. The intro section comprises atmospheric, touching keyboards that accompany the first speech. Then comes the powerful rhythmic base as a backdrop, since the protagonist here is that wonderful keyboard, enriched by potent riffs.

The initial stanza unveils Stephen’s distinct vocal style, characterized by a goatish vibrato that enhances the symphonic melody. The section maintains a fluid and familiar feel, featuring power chord riffs. Noteworthy is the strategic use of syncopation in the intermezzo, adding nuanced rhythmic elements to the song.

The chorus is magnificent. Choral vocals -reminiscences of Avantasia, I can’t help feeling this familiar, yet lovely essence- that brings to mind the song of thousands of people who raise their voices and fists to defend freedom. The second stanza brings a shift in vocal dynamics. Here, Stephen accelerates the tempo, singing with an urgent undertone. A charming intermezzo and the chorus follow this.

Subsequently, we encounter keyboards with a dark tone reminiscent of Dream Theater. The keyboard takes center stage momentarily, supported by the rhythmic base. Soon after, potent and harmonious guitar riffs join the symphonic arrangement, accompanied by a drum roll. A poignant segment unfolds, akin to storytelling, featuring evocative keyboards and Stephen singing with heartfelt emotion.

The concluding part is charming. A brief tempo change occurs—I came across “¡No Return” and “Reach Out For The Light” here, truly touching! Then, it returns to a mid-tempo, and the choral vocals make a strong impact. Someone in the background seems to be singing and bleeding—perhaps Nitte Valo is there? If so, congratulations, as the emotional depth is supreme, thanks to those vocals! A glorious end for this amazing track, definitely among my favourites.

Closing the album is Track 9, “Two Restless Hearts,” lasting 05:17′. It’s a beautiful metal ballad. A big thank you to everyone for concluding this incredible journey with a ballad. It takes me back to my early metalhead days with albums like “Legacy of Kings” by Hammerfall and “Holy Land” by my loved guys from Angra.  Well, I guess you understand what I mean. ¿right? The story revolves around a couple going through tough times. They realize their love is fading, but ending things after spending so many years together is not easy. Even if their relationship doesn’t bring happiness anymore, letting go of familiar feelings is still hard.

These are two restless hearts trying to close a chapter, but it seems they need time and shared tears before peacefully saying goodbye. The lyrics, while uncomplicated, carry profound emotions. An intimate piano, a weeping keyboard, and Juanma Draven entering the stage singing in a mid-low range. I can’t help but recall Tuomas Holopainen’s vocal interpretation in the track “The Carpenter” here; much sadness conveyed, amazing! The chorus is as touching as the first stanza. Afterward, Nitte sings. Again, the feeling is intense; much pain and confusion is delivered in her interpretation.

Following the sorrowful chorus, there is a charming bridge comprising violin sounds, a stirring piano, and a keyboard that gives the sense of falling along a waterfall, with an impressive bass drum dominating the major portion of the track. Afterward, Juanma and Nitte poignantly sing together the final chorus over the melodic base, closing with a dark, sad piano note and wrapping up this amazing journey.

In summary, the debut of After Infinity predicts much success, since the album as a whole is perfect, full of nuances and diverse textures, where several metal styles converge and where the impressive quality of the musicians and guest singers give life to a true masterpiece.

 In this regard, I want to highlight the talented Mikael Salo in his two appearances in “The Crown of Clowns” and “A Game of Chess” – two of my favourite songs on the album. That man has an impressive voice and became one of my favourite singers ever!

Thanks for the journey! Therefore, it is my pleasure to evaluate this gem. 10/10 Elyna Steel

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