From the same young, Polish lads in EXLIBRIS who brought us "Humagination" and the hilarious […]
By Daniel Fox
March 16, 2015
Exlibris - Aftereal album cover

From the same young, Polish lads in EXLIBRIS who brought us "Humagination" and the hilarious video for the single, "No Guts, No Glory" comes "Aftereal". Poland is ordinarily known for their excellent Extreme Metal bands; BEHEMOTH, VADER and DIES IRAE among them, so a Heavy/Power Metal band would come as a total shocker, and I would contend that it's unlike anything you've ever heard.

Their first album featured an incredibly catchy and crisp atmosphere, with smashing-yet-infectious tracks like the aforementioned; "Aftereal" is, if possible, even heavier, perhaps even more instrumentally technical, and the production quality is off the charts. Powerhouse vocalist Krzysztof brings back to the table his immense range; one of the reasons I fell in love with the band's first album, and seems to belt even more powerfully; the screechers "The Day Of Burning" and "Omega Point" and the pounding sledgehammer of "In The Darkest Hour" are a testament to the young man's talent.

It seems almost impossible for this band's music to stagnate, as is possible for the majority of bands that stick to a classic, Heavy approach, because of their musical smarts that will them to push boundaries; "King Of The Pit" may well be my favourite track on the record, for it borrows the heavy, mid-tempo thumping from "In The Darkest Hour" but embellishes it with creative chord progressions and marvelous vocal melodies, and a spec-fucking-tacular solo tradeoff between guitarist Daniel and keyboardist Voltan. "Closer" is easily one of the tracks that pushes the rhythm section to the edge as well; fans of the previous album might notice that the bass of Toper is much more prominent in the mix, and carries one of the sexist, grittiest tones I have ever heard.

"Closer" will come as an especially nice surprise for Prog fans; not only because EXLIBRIS are no shy-aways from experimentation, but because the vocals on the track are handled in entirety by none other than Tom Englund from EVERGREY. Well-played, EXLIBRIS. Well-played. Rounding off the album is the aggressive and rhythmically-punishing "Suspended Animation", treading a line between Power and Thrash, and carrying one of the best choruses on the entire album.

Like "Humagination", I am finding it tough to put down this release. 16 days into March, and it has solidified a spot into my top-10 list for the year. EXLIBRIS are clearly onto something, and I wish a prosperous future for them, because the music they make damn well deserves it.

10 / 10


"Aftereal" Track-listing:

1. Escape Velocity
2. The Day Of Burning
3. In The Darkest Hour
4. Omega Point
5. Before The Storm
6. King Of The Pit
7. Darker Than Black
8. Closer
9. False Messiah
10. The Mental Crusade
11. Suspended Animation

Exlibris Lineup:

Krzysztof Sokołowski - Vocals
Daniel "Dani" Lechmański - Ruitars, Backing vocals
Piotr "Voltan" S

ikora - Keyboards, Orchestration, Backing vocals
Piotr "Toper" Torbicz - Bass
Misiek Ślusarski - Drums
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