The rather unfortunate press release for Upon Wings’ EP Afterlife enthuses that it shares production, engineering talents, and guitar work with Creed, Kid Rock and “Canadian nu metal giants Slaves on Dope, formerly on Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne’s Divine Recordings label.” So it was with a heavy heart and dismally low expectations that I hit the play button on this release. The tasteful, musically sophisticated, and rather pleasant goth metal that greeted my ears when I finally screwed up my courage to listen to Afterlife was a very pleasant surprise indeed. This stuff could be huge in Europe amongst fans of Nightwish, the Gathering, and Epica.
Upon Wings’ supposed Christianity should not be a deal breaker for anyone—their lyrics, while certainly open to religious interpretation, thankfully lack the ham-fisted shout-outs to Jesus that plague so much of what passes for contemporary Christian music. Vocalist Ann Autumn certainly has some pipes on her and folks who appreciate healthy doses of the Western classical tradition in their metal will not be disappointed with her operatic trilling. Although this type of goth metal with heavy operatic and classical leanings is not really my cup of tea, Afterlife is filled with enough melody and musicianship to keep even skeptics like me interested, so fans of the genre might very well dig this EP a great deal. If you are sneaking out of bible study a few minutes early to head down to Hot Topic in order to pick up some gothy, Christian-friendly new tunes, you could do a lot worse than Upon Wings’ Afterlife.