During the dramatic opening of The Aftermath Odyssey, one hears snippets of a 2001 speech in which U.S. President George W. Bush discusses the 9/11 terrorist attacks -- and that sets the tone for this grandiose progressive metal/power metal epic, which is as bleak and depressing as it is well crafted. Nation Beyond's debut album, The Aftermath Odyssey, is a conceptual effort that describes one man's struggles in a post-apocalypse world. Actually, the death and destruction that this 2006 recording envisions is on a much larger scale than 9/11; we're talking a nuclear World War III, and the devastation is so widespread and so extreme that the living have plenty of reason to envy the dead. Despite all that horror, the main character (who is played quite effectively by lead singer Nielz Lindstrom) meets and falls in love with a woman named Sarah (who is portrayed on a few tracks by Sara Heurlin, a female singer with the type of angelic voice that is more typical of goth rock and goth metal than prog metal or power metal). The fact that nuclear Armageddon has ravaged the world doesn't mean that people have given up on the idea of war, and suffice to say that tragedy occurs when even more battles take place. No one will accuse this 63-minute CD of being cheerful, but The Aftermath Odyssey is certainly well constructed and nicely executed -- and this Swedish band has an attractive, if dated, sound that draws on influences like Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, Savatage, and Iron Maiden. Despite the Bush snippets at the beginning and Heurlin's goth-like qualities, The Aftermath Odyssey is very '80s-sounding on the whole. But for prog metal and power metal diehards, sounding dated is actually a plus -- not a minus -- and the Swedes' sense of craftsmanship serves them well on The Aftermath Odyssey.
The Aftermath Odyssey Review
by Alex Henderson