Morning After - Beneath the Real
Black Lotus Records
Gothic Rock/Modern Radio Metal
11 songs (47'22")
Release year: 2003
Black Lotus
Reviewed by Alex

Morning After is a young Greek band debuting with Beneath the Real on Black Lotus Records, a Greek label that tends to bring the local young talent onto the international scene. In the case of Morning After the label is going all out proclaiming them to “conquer the charts worldwide”. The band is actually a duo, two brothers Iliopoulos, with Tasos handling the vocal duties and Melios being the multi-instrumentalist on all guitars and synthesizers (the band has a guest drummer from Septic Flesh).

One thing is certain with Morning After – they like to mix things up. Not being content with a single style, Morning After takes a gothic foundation and lays a lot of modern radio metal on it. At times, the love for classic metal shows through as well.

I admit not reading the promo sheet before taking a first listen, so the sounds of the opener Free to Heal reminded me a lot of the made heavy Finnish gothic rock, the likes of which To/Die/For and Entwine mastered so well. The sound is dense, the lead is short and emotive, and vocals reminded me lot of the old Beseech singer Jorgen Sjoberg (Black Emotions). OK, it wasn’t very original, but it was done quite well. Staying the course, however, wasn’t in Morning After plans, so the only other gothic rock cuts were Heavy Waves with its piano soft verse and heavy chorus as well as upbeat electronica filled Instability. The rest of the time the band does soul searching and there I had to reach for the info sheet that came together with the CD to get some explanation.

For some reason Morning After thinks that Nickelback and Linkin Park are awesome and worthy of taking a page or two from. Not being a fan of either of the aforementioned US radiowaves mainstays I can recognize some radio friendly metal in the Morning After signature (I do tend to turn the radio off once I hear Nickelback and Linkin Park, but apparently a few notes by those artists that I have heard made me recognize the influences). It really beats me what is so good about the songs like Hell in Heaven and, especially, Let Myself Flow. Strangely enough, the promo sheet suggests we pay particular attention to those. If you do, the reward will be clean crooning intermingled with screams, non-descript riffs, sticky chorus on Hell in Heaven and mindless instrumental middle on Let Myself Flow (gotta be the worst song on the album). At least Hell in Heaven is salvaged by the ending very Priest/Maiden classic guitar lead and Beneath the Real has the end featuring the thrashy palm-muted galloping riff. To show how diverse their palette can be Morning After also throw in an electroacoustic break Trains in Dust and choppy progressive verse in Burning Time (although with another made-for-radio chorus). I’d say if the band wasn’t wavering so much and really made the gothic style their foundation, they have powerful production and some good melodies to make the album really work for me.

Instrumentalist Melios does a hell of job playing everything in the band. Too bad, I can’t say it for his brother Tasos. The guy’s clean singing is just plain out of tune. Whenever he goes gruff, not so clean gothic style he is quite good. He even growls OK, although the spots are rare. The clean croon, however, is his undoing, and, what do you know, Tasos prefers to feature it quite often. Day of the Moon, Beneath the Real and Let Myself Flow are the prime examples when he is off key. I am not sure how that can be fixed, being that the band are brothers (it is really a shame to replace your brother with a better singer), so maybe staying closer to more throaty vocal deliveries would do the band well.

Quite often we say “this newcomer band does everything well, but we have heard it all before”. Morning After is a different beast. In their quest for originality they have an extensive genre mish-mash, and coupled with below average singing, the results are not often digestible. I’d take a look at the follow-up to Beneath the Real. The Iliopoulos brothers could either right their ship, or sink it totally.

Killing Songs :
Free to Heal, Heavt Waves, Instability
Alex quoted 54 / 100
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