|Artist: After Dusk|
The older I get, the more I appreciate heavy metal. Not that I haven’t appreciated it before, of course, but I mean rather that pure strain of metal that isn’t constrained by sub-genre tags, considerations of extremity or such childish notions as ‘truth’ or ‘brutality’, but are more interested in the origins of our music – simple, effective riffs, the power of amplified sound and catchy song writing.
All of which brings me to Greek outfit ‘After Dusk’. Do you, like me, occasionally wonder what the Ozzy Osbourne band would sound like if they had any interest in producing quality music rather than listening to the cash registers chime? It could be argued (and indeed, I will) that the double O hasn’t appeared on a halfway decent album since 1995, and before that it was even longer. Meanwhile, it’s a strange paradox that bands with singers that sound like Osbourne, (and by now you will have no doubt used your detective skills to discern that vocalist Paminos sounds extremely like the shuffling-one, complete with ‘oh yeah’s), continue to produce excellent albums. Yet, while the likes of Count Raven and Sheavy both have a rather retrograde approach to songwriting, After Dusk have more of a modern edge to them with their approach on classic heavy metal.
Take the blistering ‘Bringer of Lies’, for instance. Yes, there is the burbling, Butler-esque take on the bass guitar, the plaintive guitar moments that recall the Blizzard of Ozz, but there are also rapid-fire guitar moments that remind the listener of the hey-day of thrash metal, and some pounding double-bass drum work that propels the music along at a pace that would probably kill the real Mr Osbourne. It seems on the one hand a little unfair to continually compare such a great band (and, by the way, this is a complete peach of an album) to the so-called Prince of Darkness, but the vocals are so redolent of him that it’s pretty hard to resist the urge. That being said, when you have tracks of such a progressive bent that they recall the solo work of Bruce Dickinson as ‘The Art of Alchemy’, it is apparent that the Athens crew more than hold a candle to their famous progenitors. Simply put. After Dark are probably proof indeed that pure heavy metal can exist, and exist very successfully without the distractions of sub-sub-sub-genre splitting, and along with an emerging movement of bands like Crescent Shield can truly lay claim to the claim to be among the forefront of the new wave of traditional heavy metal.
I really can’t express in any less fawning terms how much I love this album; I have been blown away by how fresh, re-invigorating and exciting this is. While the organ sounds, chunky riffs and soaring vocals may not be tempting to the hip crowd (thank Christ), those of us with a more discerning ear ought to be behind this band. Greek fire indeed.