One of the most enjoyable aspects of reviewing albums is when you get that one that hits a knockout blow from the initial play... and just keeps on going! There have been precious few recently, but Progressive Metal outfit After Lapse managed it with an absolute beauty of a debut album.
Hailing from Spain, this quintet of Rubén Miranda (vocals), Jorge Escudero (guitars), Pablo Sancha (keyboards), Javier Palacios (bass) and Roberto Cappa (drums) deliver the goods. It’s obvious to see why Frontiers quickly signed them after hearing a few demos. So, what is their secret? The answer is simple: melodies, and lots of them threaded through eleven tracks.
Opening proceedings is the instrumental track ‘Thrive’, and I have been dismissive of this type of start before. However, I’ll hold my hands up and admit it’s a superb tune, containing elements of Progressive Metal wrapped up in a melodic web that hints at what’s to come. We hear Miranda’s vocals eighty-seconds into the second track ‘Where No-One Cares’, after Escudero’s guitar and Sancha’s keys have serenaded us; his voice is a perfect fit as the song explodes to a new level.
‘Come Undone’ is one of the more Metal sounding tracks, with Cappa’s drumming coming to the fore, alongside Palacios’ bass, which is superb and commanding throughout the entire album. The title track is up next, and this is where you appreciate how clever they are with the melodic side of their craft, as they combine it with a more Progressive Rock sound and a smattering of Metal to produce a song that lives long in the memory.
This musical combination continues with ‘Beyond The End’, which features a slower tempo, but fully showcases Miranda’s vocal abilities and features some beautiful keyboards. Each song is a tantalising hybrid merged with infectious energy, and ‘The Lie’ perfectly personifies this approach; it grabs you and refuses to let go. My advice; enjoy the ride, because when it finishes, ‘Through The War’ picks you up by the lapels again and hits you with six-minutes of Melodic Metal, which features a pretty nifty rap segment.
If I could write “Buy it” two hundred times to fill my word count, then I would. It has been a pleasure to review, and it now nestles in my top five albums this year.
The big challenge for them is to better it next time!