Review: AFTER – Edges of the World EP

1. Days Ago
2. Bones
3. Edges of the World
4. Riders on the Storm (The Doors cover)

The origins of up-and-coming rock outfit AFTER trace back to the Los Angeles Music Academy where singer/guitarist Jose Freitas joined forces with drummer Brian Santner. In 2011 they hooked up with Matthew Denis to fill their bass player slot and the trio was well and truly complete. While they are still a relatively young outfit, they have gone to great pains to cut their teeth and follow in the footsteps of the greats. Their reputation has grown on the backs of commanding live performances at The Viper Room, The Troubadour, and The Roxy Theater. A few years back the band released their debut self-titled album but, as with any good artist, their new EP Edges of the World continues to push their sound further out into uncharted waters. While AFTER describe their music as “progressive pop” – far be it from me to tell an artist what to do — the result is razor-sharp alternative rock with a heavier focus on mood than your average radio fare. The riffs riff and the hooks hook in all the right places. Expect to hear more Queens of the Stone Age than Emerson, Lake & Palmer, however.

Edges of the World subscribes to an old axiom of show business: always keep the people wanting more. All four songs included here come to only seventeen minutes in total. Album opener “Days Ago” has lead single written all over it. It has all the guitar grunt and Led Zeppelin-stomp that a rock band could ever ask for. Vocally, AFTER fits in with any number of modern rock acts with Freitas showing just a touch of young Ozzy Osbourne, Faith No More‘s Mike Patton and Incubus‘ Brandon Boyd for flavour. “Bones” shifts gears into a groovier state of mind — a little calmer than the pyrotechnics of the first song. The title track does exactly what a good title track should do: blow the listener away and act as a definitive statement of the album’s intent.

The EP closes with a gutsy take on The Doors‘ legendary “Riders on the Storm.”  AFTER tackle this classic rock behemoth where others fear to tread. Many covers of this sort fall flat — just because you are in a band and like a song does not mean that you can do it justice. This song in particular certainly has had its fair share of missteps over the years, from Santana‘s collaboration with Chester Bennington of Linkin Park to Creed to Snoop Dogg‘s woeful remix back in 2004. While AFTER take certain licenses with the arrangement, they hit all the right beats to make their rendition a success. The whole of Edges of the World is slick and excellently performed. AFTER have a definite future with their radio-ready but forward-thinking rock music. It is only a short EP but it makes a great case for the band, featuring short, sharp blasts of rock and roll played with the right degrees of ballsiness and panache. I am interested to see where AFTER can go from here.

-Ricardo Kerr

Album Stream: AFTER – Edges of the World EP MP3s