It’s been four years since the last time we have heard from AFTERIMAGE, the progressive / power metal band from the island of Syros in Greece. The debut “Traveler in Crystal Visions” back in 2018 had left us with a positive and ambitious feeling about the band, since some songs in that album had great melodies, far above the average rate of the general progressive metal scene.
Now the band returns with its second album, “II: Beyond Horizons Infinite” and the surprise is quite enormous. The band is improved in all levels, the music is much richer and diverse and the listeners will especially love the guitar melodies in the album – note that the band now uses three guitar players. We wouldn’t exaggerate if we say that that the album presents some of the best guitar work that someone can hear in the contemporary progressive / power metal field.
Even from the very first song, the amazing “Imagination Regenerated”, the listener comes across a great combination of US power with progressive metal in veins of old FATES WARNING, CRIMSON GLORY, MYSTIC FORCE, early PSYCHOTIC WALTZ and HEIR APPARENT (“One small voice” era). But all this without copying the past, and under a contemporary point of view in terms of production, sound and presentation that augments the band’s personality.
Moreover, the vocals sound more mature and theatrical than the first album. It is actually like hearing a blend of John Arch, Geddy Lee and Buddy Lackey. Especially the vocal performance on the “Transparent” track is fantastic. The same holds for the “Mirrors” track, where the passionate vocal expressions win you over very easily.
The album has one short introduction and 10 songs, where “Talisman”, “Transparent”, “Nightingales”, “New Born Horizons” and “Mirrors” are moving toward the level of perfection. These 5 tracks are IMO the tops of the album, but the rest of the songs are also very good: It is sure that many old-school prog / power metal fans will enjoy the 15 minutes of “An Overture to Mystic Arts” or the heavy and “speedy” side of the band in “Morgana” (that reminded me a lot of the US Power Metal of HELSTAR).
To sum up my review I have to simply point that AFTERIMAGE’s new work is magnificent. “II: Beyond Horizons Infinite” carries lots of heart and soul. It has that dreamy atmosphere, the fairy tale vibe, the theatrical-passionate vocals, and the rest of the ingredients that made the Progressive / Power Metal genre popular and so beloved through the years.
The album will be released June, 3rd on Steel Gallery Records. You can pre-order it here.