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“Mea Culpa” by After Forever

Artist: After Forever
Title: “Mea Culpa”
Label: Tranmission Records
Release Date: 8/15/2006
Genre: Melodic Dark Metal
Rating: 5/5

In 2006 as their contract with Transmission Records was drawing to a close and the Dutch Melodic Metal band After Forever drew the curtain on their early years in preparation for the move forward into a hopefully promising future, a retrospective entitled “Mea Culpa” was released. Unlike many compilations that review a bands past and give the listener two choice tracks from each album, “Mea Culpa” would be far from the standard summary of the After Forever back catalog and instead present thirty three bombastic tunes in one of the most beautiful packages that I have ever seen for a release of this kind. The two disc set is broken up into distinct chapters with the first CD covering the years and albums that guitarist/grunt vocalist Mark Jansen was a part of the group. It’s on this disc that we find the albums “Prison Of Desire” and “Decipher” being once again brought to the front, and these are two truly powerful recordings that still have quite a bit of life to them. Knowing there are fifteen tunes on the first CD makes one think that they re-issued the entire album for the sake of the collection but what they did became all the more special as it is here we also find unreleased tracks and those that would only be found on band singles. As it begins it sets their heavy mood properly with “Mea Culpa”, an a-cappella tune loaded with big choir and brooding tones but from there is very much a dark feast of Melodic Metal. There are other Dutch musical superstars present as well and get a duet between Floor and Sharon den Adel (Within Temptation) that is quite good and somewhere across the tracks Arjen Lucassen offers some guitar and keyboards.
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