After Forever – Invisible Circles

     This album, After Forever‘s third,  is heavy in two veins. The music and in the content of the lyrics. Invisible Circles deals with a few subject matters that even today remain the giant elephant in the middle of the room that everyone walks around; avoiding but never dealing with – Childhood neglect, verbal and emotional abuse of children, and, in lesser prominence, the ability of using the internet to deceive people into thinking you are something you are not.
     Done in a way that the characters thoughts and what they are speaking can be heard be it in the song as lyrics or by vignettes either before, during, and after the songs, After Forever does not treat the subjects they are writing about with anything less than blunt, and, at times, brutal honesty. 

     This a very SymphonicMetal album by a band that had been around as long as Nightwish. Unlike Nightwish, After Forever preferred their music in a more aggressive direction. Having started off in 1995 as more of a DeathMetal band; before breaking up the band in 2009, After Forever had evolved their sound four times.
     As for concept albums, this is more of an Opera. There are the three vocalist, guitarist Sander Gommans doing the DeathMetal vocals and Bas Maas doing the smooth male vocals. Main vocalist Floor Jansen plays two roles, that of the mother and that of the child; each by singing with very clear, seperate style and approach so that the listener can decipher between the two characters. But, unlike many other concept albums, and why I say this is more of an Opera, you don’t have to read along with the lyrics to tell the story, it is being played out for you as the music progresses from start to finish.

     Mark Jansen of Epica/Mayan was, until the writing of this album, a founding member of After Forever. Again, After Forever liked their music more aggressive and differences in direction drove them apart.

Track listing for Invisible Circles:
01: Childhood In Minor
02: Beautiful Emptiness
03: Between Love And Fire
04: Sins Of Idealism
05: Eccentric
06: Digital Deceit
07: Through Square Eyes
08: Blind Pain
09: Two Sides
10: Victim Of Choices
11: Reflections
12: Life’s Vortex

     I could write more about the story that the album tells but it would get rather long. I will say this about the album – as a wanna-be writer/author, this album was instrumental in my having written a tome (way longer than the average novel) length book that is about alcoholism and physical child abuse, neglect, emotional and verbal abuse, that is so realistic in its subject matter that a friend who read it said it was more of a horror story with the alcoholics being the monsters and probably unpublishable because of the graphic description of the abuse incurred. Now, here’s the humerous and odd part – I was writing about what my siblings and I went through at the hands of an alcoholic and extremely abusive mother. I see no need to sugarcoat anything.