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AfterForeverPaard van Troje, Den Haag, The Netherlands
October 20th 2005
After Forever, novAct, The Legion of Hetheria

Traffic and parking problems. When I arrived my friends had already fixed the tickets and we ran into the high-tech venue in the middle of the city-centre. Het Paard, as the locals call it, has always been the main venue for rock and metal fans in this area. I myself have seen tons of memorable concerts in the old version of the Paard van Troje. But since they totally rebuild the hall nothing has been the same (they actually just left the front of the building and rebuild the rest). Nevermind. It's an evening of melodic metal that's awaiting us, so we went upstairs and walked into the main hall.

The Legion of Hetheria

This mexican gothic metal band is mostly known for being the support act on Epica's Mexican tour earlier this year. A mini-tour that was riddled with trouble, with the main problem being Simone's appendix operation. This 6-piece plays in the best goth metal tradition with keyboards, soprano female vocals, some screams, grunts and clear male vocals, 2 guitarplayers and bass & drums. A lot of people have expressed their anticipation to see this band, so they have a lot to live up to.

The band was already playing when we walked in. The Legion of Hetheria was added to the bill only a few days before, and this also caused that the starting time of the first band was pushed forward to 8 o'clock. We had to hurry if we were going to have a good impression of the band before their set was over. First thing that struck me is that the guitar player/vocalist has a very good clear voice. His vocals (apart from his grunts and screams) are quite impressive. We were just in time to catch the band's rendition of a Mozart piece. The vocals from the female vocalist are again impressive. Actually, it is the best she sang the entire concert. The band's instrumentation in this song is more standard than surprising, which is a shame. Overall the band sounds exactly like typical goth metal. Some people would love it to death, others find it uneventful and dull. All in all, it's quite entertaining but never reaches the level of its influences.

The light show was sober and the stage was mostly taken by the risers used later on by After Forever, but TLOH gave it all they had! The band is young and energetic, which is a certain plus to the spontaneity and visual side of this show. The musicians played well and no terrible mistakes were noticable. Maybe a little bit more movement could liven up the show a bit more and lift it to the next level. I also detected a bit of distance between the vocalists and the audience. May it be nerves or the soft-spokenness of the guitarist, but the interaction level was low and portrayed the inexperience of the band. Something that playing a lot will definitely change in their favor.

Music 7
Performance 7
Sound 7
Light 7
Total 7



The progressive rock of NovAct has been the fixed support for After Forever for most of 2005, and many of the fans had some difficulty getting used to the band's melodic music, fronted by and accompanied with the unusual yet powerful voice of Eddy Borremans. Though it took a bit, the AF-fans are certainly starting to warm up to the band. More and more positive reactions have been noticed lately and that's just what they deserve. NovAct released their debut CD earlier this year through the American prog label Sensory, and if you check out my review of their album somewhere on this site you'll know that the CD is a superb piece of prog rock. Make sure to check them out live when you'll have a chance to.

Prog Rock in the vein of Pain of Salvation, a hint of Dream Theater and Queensryche, and a lot of their own identity. The band is made up of talented musicians, excellent song writers and professional performers. Well thought out songs with a leading role for Eddy's more than excellent singing voice. Despite playing prog rock, a genre in which most of the time songs are drowned with guitar solos and other musical extravanganza, the music of novAct's debut album is more about the song than about the musician's talents. This all makes the band very easy to listen to. A plus in my book. And tonight the band is on fire once again. Great show, despite the slight technical difficulties.

From the very moment the band walks on stage they show that little spark that sets the difference between amatures and the pros. They look like a band that has been in the scene for a long time. It's such a shame that the sound was far from perfect when the band kicked in with their first song. With only one guitar player in the band, and playing in front of an audience that's mostly into metal, it's always of great importance that the guitar sound is high in the mix. But this was not the case. Somewhere during the second song everything sort of panned out and the sound mirrored the performance. Despite this slight hick-up the show was as good as ever.

01. Sharply Condemned
02. The Rider
03. Eternal Life
04. Hope and Fear
05. So Help Me God
06. Promises

Music 8
Performance 8
Sound 7
Light 7
Total 8


After Forever

What is left to say about After Forever that hasn't been said before? The band had a rough time in 2005 with the terrible disease called cancer reaping havoc in their professional and private life. Most people have heard about drummer André being struck down by the disease and making a splendid and well-deserved recovery, but the band also met the other side of the story when one of their friends and main person of the fanclub wasn't as "lucky". Hard times. But the band plays live again, with the new album just released upon the world. A band that works hard deserves the best...

A lot of the new songs show a slight change of direction for the After Forever material. More power metal than goth metal, louder and in someway less bombastic. Many of the new songs are played tonight, winning over the old fans that were still a bit reserved after hearing the band's Remagine album. Live the new songs hit hard. Even Stronger is part of the setlist (which is quite an emotional song to sing for Floor), and with a new cover like The Final Countdown (Europe) replacing the magnificent The Evil That Men Do (Iron Maiden) the show is well balanced and professional. The many shows they have played throughout the years paid off.

2 Huge risers fill the stage. One holds the brand new drumkit of André, the other the contraption that's part of Joost's keyboard set-up. A small ramp in the middle is used by Floor to enter the stage. The band is energetic and plays well tonight. Accompanied by a well-balanced setlist and a terrific lightshow, they show once more that they are the true headliners of this night. Floor is still the most powerful front-woman in this genre in the Netherlands. Her dynamics and appearance are terrific once again. Joost even pulls out his portable keyboard, like he did so many times when he was still playing with Sun Caged. Yes, the show was A-okay. Like we expected anything else ;)

00. Enter (intro)
01. Come
02. Boundaries are Open
03. Living Shields
04. My Pledge of Allegiance #1
05. Beyond Me
06. Attendance
07. No Control
08. Taste the Day (accoustic)
09. Free of Doubt
10. Monolith of Doubt
11. Only Everything
12. Face your Demons
13. Being Everyone
14. The Final Countdown
15. Strong
16. Digital Deceit
17. Forlorn Hope
18. Follow in the Cry

Music 8.5
Performance 8
Sound 8
Light 9
Total 8.37


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