We all know bands that have difficult roads to their first full-length albums. Sometimes the journey is so difficult that you only see a smattering of singles and EPs materialize. There can be a long period of silence before you see the saddening, “It’s been a great run” social media post that affirms the band is going into hiatus or calling it quits entirely. Thankfully, this is not every story. There are times where we get to see a band that has gone through hardships such as lineup changes, roadblocks in personal lives, etc., come out more resilient and determined to push forward. In the case of progressive metalcore group The Afterimage, we hear an inspiring case of the latter with their first full-length album, Eve.
The intro track “Aquamarine” incorporates electronic beats, vocal manipulation and gang vocals to great effect. If there absolutely has to be a sub-two-minute intro, I would hope it would be as compelling as this one. “Cerulean” follows and essentially starts with a breakdown, chugging along the palm-muted path built upon screams until you hit the chorus, carried by higher-pitched clean, melodic vocals this style of music is typically known for. In-between it all, there are some technical/wonky guitar effects that keep you on your toes and some piano/synth that underscores the guitar work to beef up the melodic lines.
These tools and tricks are used as a rock solid base for the album to rest on. While used throughout, there are undoubtedly places where the individual parts shine in particular. For moments where certain elements in are highlighted, look to the featured vocals on “Amethyst” sung by Kennedy Lapenna. They add to the album’s themes regarding relationships and all the difficult emotions they encompass. The chorus on “Floodgates” that hits just the right spot, floating on a bed of twinkling, nimble synthesizer work. Then there’s “Wrath,” titled perfectly as it is arguably the heaviest song on the album.
Another highlight of this album is the idea that it is not a work that is isolated from the band’s output. On “Floodgates” there’s a line that was first heard on a single released by the band in 2012 called “The Seeking”. The line, “I can never get back what I’ve chosen to throw away”. It’s a fantastic touch that takes the bands connection to their art further, not just because it’s self-referential, but because it connects themes that the band has had through multiple member changes. It’s a part of a vision and story bigger than those making the music, though it cannot exist without them.
Through the lineup-changes that occurred and the roadblocks they overcame, there has always been a driving idea at the heart of the band. They have kept a consistent core sound since their debut EP Formless and have added on and tweaked when they felt it necessary. The musical intent of the band has always been clear: heavy music that also knows when to ease off the pressure and bring in melody, groove, etc.. They are not the first group to make this brand of progressive metalcore and they surely will not be the last. However, the added through-line of re-occurring themes throughout the band’s work and the way with which they handle this established sound sets them apart as a forward-thinking group. If there are bands looking to attempt this type of sound or bands in the midst of this scene looking for inspiration, they should turn their gaze to The Afterimage and take notes.