After Forever was a Dutch symphonic metal band with strong progressive metal influences. The band relied on the use of both soprano vocals and death grunts.
In February 2009, it was announced that After Forever had disbanded. Singer Floor Jansen and keyboardist Joost van den Broek both collaborated again in the bands ReVamp, and Star One. In 2013, Floor Jansen also joined symphonic metal band Nightwish. Former guitarist Mark Jansen created the band Epica in 2002 after his departure from After Forever.
After Forever was originally assembled in 1995, under the name Apocalypse. They were originally a Death metal cover band with harsh male vocals. With the joining of vocalist Floor Jansen in 1997, their style and sound shifted towards symphonic gothic metal, in order to give emphasis to her soprano voice, in contrast with the grunts and screams provided by Sander Gommans and Mark Jansen. Their line-up at this point comprised Floor Jansen, Mark Jansen, Sander Gommans, Luuk van Gerven, Jack Driessen and Joep Beckers. Soon, the band began composing their own songs, and then they changed their name to After Forever. In 1999, the band recorded two demos entitled Ephemeral and Wings of Illusion, which drew the attention of the Dutch Transmission Records label, with whom the band signed a contract.
Their debut album Prison of Desire was recorded in 2000, featuring the guest appearance of Sharon den Adel of the Dutch band Within Temptation on the song "Beyond Me". The album obtained very good reviews in Europe. By the end of the year, drummer André Borgman and keyboardist Lando van Gils joined the band, replacing Joep Beckers and Jack Driessen.
During the year 2000, Floor Jansen was invited to guest sing in Ayreon's Universal Migrator Part 1: The Dream Sequencer album. Ayreon is the most successful of the many projects by Dutch guitarist Arjen Anthony Lucassen and that album is only the first of many other collaborations with Floor Jansen.
In 2001, the band released the album Decipher, which featured for the first time live classical instruments and a live choir. The complex arrangements of the new compositions pushed After Forever's music even more towards the symphonic metal genre.
In 2002 Mark Jansen, one of the main composers and founder of the band, was fired from After Forever and subsequently assembled the band Epica, where he continued to pursue the combination of symphonic metal with death metal elements, already present in the first two albums by After Forever. He was replaced by Bas Maas, who had been a roadie for the band for years. In 2003, the new line-up of After Forever released the EP and DVD Exordium.
In 2004, the concept album Invisible Circles was released. The album, that deals with childhood traumas and abuse, introduced progressive metal elements to the music of After Forever and the use of a clean male voice. The album reached No. 24 in the Dutch Top 100 musical chart. In the same year, Lando van Gils also left the band and was replaced by Joost van den Broek, (Ayreon) a keyboard player that Floor Jansen had met during her tour with Star One, another project by Arjen Lucassen.
In early September 2005, the band released their fourth album Remagine. The album was produced using pre-recorded drum tracks by André Borgman, who had to take a long leave of absence to cure his illness. The songs of the album are simpler and more straightforward than in the previous albums, preserving anyway the usual dual voice dynamic in the sound of the band.
On March 3, 2006, the band left the Transmission Records label, due to the scarce promotion that the label was providing to their albums. Following this departure, Transmission Records released the Mea Culpa compilation, with plenty of rarities and B-sides. By October of the same year, After Forever had signed to the German label Nuclear Blast Records.
In the end of 2006 the band recorded their final and only album on the Nuclear Blast label, self-titled After Forever. It features guest appearances from Annihilator guitarist Jeff Waters and Doro Pesch. Videos of the recording sessions were available for download on the band's website. The album was released on April 23, 2007.
In January 2008, After Forever announced on their website, that the band would be taking a break of at least a year, mainly to assess the health problems of vocalist and guitarist Sander Gommans, who had been absent during most of the tour supporting the album After Forever. In an interview with Ragnarök radio, Floor said the band would get together early 2009 to discuss After Forever's future.
On February 5, 2009, After Forever announced that they decided to call it quits. The long break, during 2008 and 2009, had made them realize that they did not feel the passion towards the band any longer.
After the split up of the band, Sander Gommans published in 2009 the album System Overload with his solo project HDK and continues working as a high school art teacher. Floor Jansen started a new band called ReVamp and signed in 2010 a contract with Nuclear Blast for their first eponymous album, then from late 2012 to summer 2013 she toured with Nightwish and later became the permanent lead singer of the band.
Joost van den Broek collaborated with both Gommans and Jansen on their new musical projects, meanwhile producing the Christmas Metal Symphony shows in 2008 and 2009 and Stream of Passion's second album The Flame Within. Guitarist Bas Maas joined the live band supporting German hard rock singer Doro Pesch in 2008. From 2009 he is a full member of the band, Doro.
On February 5, 2009, the band members announced the end of After Forever.
After almost 15 years of After Forever, we have decided to end a beautiful and exciting time. We are incredibly proud of what we have achieved, and especially the way we have done it. After Forever has never been a band that repeated itself, we have always tried new things even if it was not always the most obvious choice. That is precisely why we received respect from the many fans who have supported us so much.
Ephemeral (1999) demo
Wings of Illusion (1999) demo
Prison of Desire (2000)
Exordium (2003) ep
Invisible Circles (2004)
Mea Culpa (2006) compilation
After Forever (2007)
Floor Jansen - (Revamp, Nightwish) lead vocals (1997–2009)
Sander Gommans - (HDK) guitar, vocals, screams (1995–2009)
Bas Maas - (Doro) guitar, vocals, screams (2002–2009)
Luuk van Gerven - bass guitar (1996–2009)
André Borgman - drums, percussion (2000–2009)
Joost van den Broek - keyboards (2004–2009)
Mark Jansen - (Epica) guitars, vocals, screams (1995–2002)
Joep Beckers - drums, percussion (1995–2000)
Jack Driessen - keyboards (1995–2000)
Lando van Gils - keyboards (2000–2004)
Sharon den Adel (Within Temptation) - guest vocals on song "Beyond Me" (Prison of Desire)
Melissa 't Hart - soprano on songs "Mea Culpa", "Leaden Legacy", "Follow in the Cry", "Silence From Afar" and "Yield to Temptation" (Prison of Desire)
Simone Simons (Epica) - vocals on song "Beyond Me" (Live in Hardenberg 26 December 2007)
Irene Jansen - vocals on song "Who I Am" (Live in Tilburg 23 December 2007)
George Oosthoek - vocals on the 2007 tour, replacing Sander Gommans
Doro Pesch - vocals on song "Who I Am" (Release Party @ Tivoli 17. April 2007 Tilburg)
Mark Jansen (Epica) - guitars and vocals on song "Beyond Me" (Live in Hardenberg 26 December 2007)
Arjen Anthony Lucassen (Ayreon) - guitars on song "Who Wants to Live Forever" ("Emphasis/Who Wants to Live Forever")
Damian Wilson (Threshold) - vocals on song "Who Wants to Live Forever" ("Emphasis/Who Wants to Live Forever")
Jeff Waters - guitars on song "De-Energized" (After Forever)
Rannveig Sif Sigurdardottir - mezzo-soprano vocal (After Forever)
Amanda Somerville - alto vocal (Remagine, After Forever)
Yvonne Rooda - alto vocal (Prison of Desire)
Caspar De Jonge - tenor vocal (Prison of Desire)
Previn Moore - bass vocal (After Forever)
Hans Cassa - bass vocal (Prison of Desire)
Marco Hietala (Nightwish) - guest vocals on single version of "Face Your Demons" (Mea Culpa)