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Label: Self released

Date: August 21st, 2020

If there’s always a grand football rivalry and we can never be too sure of the final result, it is a completely different picture when it comes to metal music. Brazil has always been on top of Argentina. The latter is still a somewhat exotic destination, though a vast country with quite a lot of various names and genres involved in the scene. Somehow, there’s just a few of them achieving any sort of wider international recognition. Hence my surprise upon receiving Buenos Aires based trio Afterpain and their debut full length record.

Further was I surprised upon realizing I’m not dealing with another characteristic filthy and brutal South American extreme metal act. This time I’m dealing with a lot more commercially oriented genre. Clean, melancholic and sort of “pop-y” symphonic gothic metal. Somewhere along the lines of Lacuna Coil. With a touch of Within Temptation. And a pinch of Evanescence. While the symphonic arrangements at times remind me of Michael Kamen’s collaboration with Metallica. Enticing, for sure.

When I mentioned commercial success, I’m obviously missing the point where the moment for bands like Afterpain has long gone. The ones who caught the bandwagon are all well-established by now and the rest are obviously left to strive in obscurity. Even if they are rather good, like the Argentinian trio surely is. If you would compare “The Endless Cycle” to the latest records by their influences, it surpasses them by a mile. In other words, this is an album bands who created the genre and made it popular back in the day can only dream about nowadays. Just for the pure catchiness of the tracks included. Some of them were presented to the audience last year, probably in attempt to gain the attention of a label that would get the band more recognition worldwide. As the attempt failed, Afterpain has gone for the online release. And the sheer fact they were themselves able to find a new magazine from across the globe, proves the point that the trio is working very hard to promote their music as best they can.

You may have noticed I took little to no time to describe the actual music on display here. It is the simple fact that “The Endless Cycle” offers nothing new or original. The winning point for the record is that it is a very good effort at a long ago invented pattern. From what I’ve written above you can easily determine is this album good for you or not. The one thing I could add to the already mentioned is that Afterpain is able to inject a fresh dose of energy to the sleeping giant that gothic metal is. The eleven tracks are easy to remember, even if they stretch into infinity, reaching almost a full hour in total. However, they are skillfully crafted, so that you don’t really feel how much time has passed. Whole lot of layered details provide for a number of listening sessions that reveal new segments you haven’t paid enough attention at first. Especially when it comes to, often neglected with similar bands, guitar work.

Now, when it comes to new names, Afterpain is surely one to remember. While “The Endless Cycle” is a nice way to start off your career, it is still not a top-notch work. I have a feeling there’s even more to this band than they’ve achieved with the debut. I honestly hope it will come to surface with the very next release and we will have a noteworthy successor to the names written somewhere above. I can even see Afterpain casting a shadow over them. If only there’s justice in this metal world of ours.

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