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AFTER THE FIRE

Symphonic Prog • United Kingdom


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After The Fire biography
Taking their name from a biblical quote (Kings 19:12), AFTER THE FIRE began in 1971 as a Christian Rock band playing keyboard-driven Progressive Rock to predominantly Christian audiences in the UK. Comprising of the song-writing partnership of Peter BANKS (keyboards) and Andy PIERCY (lead vocals & guitar) with Ian ADAMSON (bass guitar) and Robin CHILDS (drums), over the next 6 years the band built-up a sizable following playing the pub and college circuit and headlining the Greenbelt Christian Rock festival on several occasions, as well as acting as the backing band to PIERCY's former singer/songwriter partner ISHMAEL (aka Rev. Ian SMALE). In 1977 they played a sell-out show at The Marquee, where 300 fans were turned away because the venue was full. However, secular success and a recording contract still eluded them so they decided to record and release a self-funded album, called 'Signs Of Change'. Containing songs that had been written throughout the six year period of the band's existence, the album show-cased their Classical Progressive Rock style, which prompted one reviewer in Sounds magazine to write: 'The demon comparison forces me to refer you to ELP moog-boogie, marching GENESIS, and bands like BADGER and FLASH for points of similarity. The main difference being that AFTER THE FIRE are strong enough to include these likeness's and still emerge as AFTER THE FIRE.' Limited to a pressing of only 4,000 copies and available only by mail-order and at live shows, vinyl copies of the album are rare, but it has been since released on CD.

As if recording the album had been a form of documenting the band's history to date, they decided that a change of direction and style was in order and in 1978 they abandoned Progressive Rock, replaced the bass guitarist and drummer and adopted a New Wave style under the abbreviated moniker of ATF. The rejuvenation of the band resulted in a recording contract with CBS that saw the release of three albums and several singles over the following three years, achieving a modicum of chart success on both sides of the Atlantic. In 1982 embarked on three consecutive tours, two in Europe (first supporting ELO and then QUEEN) and one in the USA (supporting VAN HALEN). By December '82 AFTER THE FIRE was dissolved due to the strain of touring and musical differences within the band. In 2003, after a 21 year 'sabbatical', several members of the original band reformed as ATF2.

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AFTER THE FIRE discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

AFTER THE FIRE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.61 | 18 ratings
Signs Of Change
1977
2.08 | 5 ratings
Laser Love
1979
3.00 | 3 ratings
80F
1980
3.33 | 3 ratings
Batteries Not Included
1981
2.00 | 2 ratings
AT2F
2006

AFTER THE FIRE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

AFTER THE FIRE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

1.00 | 1 ratings
Live at Greenbelt 2004
2004

AFTER THE FIRE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

1.50 | 2 ratings
ATF
1980
2.91 | 3 ratings
Der Kommissar
1982

AFTER THE FIRE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

AFTER THE FIRE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Signs Of  Change by AFTER THE FIRE album cover Studio Album, 1977
2.61 | 18 ratings

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Signs Of Change
After The Fire Symphonic Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars After the Fire when they releasing their first album in 1978 named Signs of change they already having few years in musical bussines as a christian prog rock band. Taken influences from bands such as ELP, Genesis , Flash, Druid - After the Fire first album is the only prog album from their catalogue. After this release they gone new wave, lose some key members from the band and otained for a a short band name ATF Now, Signs of change is a pretty good moog and hammond orientated prog rock with nice instrumental balance on every piece. The voice of Andy Piercy is fiting very well here. Overall not a weak moment hre, but aswell not a groundbreaking release either, is a decent late '70s prog rock album with christian lyrics. A well desearved 3 stars maybe rounded to 3.5 for pieces like Pilgrim with a folk touch and complex instrumental section or Dance of the Marionette. A fairly forgotten band and release in prog circles.

 Signs Of  Change by AFTER THE FIRE album cover Studio Album, 1977
2.61 | 18 ratings

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Signs Of Change
After The Fire Symphonic Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

2 stars I heard this band made a prog debut album in the late 70´s before they decided to become a new wave outfit and release an infamous version of Falco´s hit Der Komissar in the 80´s. Well, fortunalty, I never heard this or any other of their pop records. But recently I had the opportunily of finding their first CD and I was quite surprised with their sound: Signs Of Chance is a keyboard driven record that has some nice moments. However, the timing for this kind of music was all wrong. And the stuff here was not good enough to make them be notice for anyone but their local fans.

Not that it was bad, no. In fact I liked their Hammond organ sound and they did have the knack to write a few nice hooks. But the problem is that the songs are no more than ok, Andy Piercy voice´s is ok and the playing is ok. In all, nothing that really stands out except maybe the fact that they wrote christian lyrics (something unusual in prog circles at the time). And it´s ok with that too, since they were not really preachy. All the tracks are more or less on the same level, except for the instrumental jigs, with its folksy theme, totally out of place here. The CD has a overall good production.

In the end I found this record to be more of a curio than anything else. Even for the time, they were far behind the best prog groups of the day. However, the band showed some promise that unfortunatly were not fulfilled. Signs of Change is definitly for fans and collectors.

 Signs Of  Change by AFTER THE FIRE album cover Studio Album, 1977
2.61 | 18 ratings

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Signs Of Change
After The Fire Symphonic Prog

Review by Progfan97402

3 stars Yes, this is the same After the Fire that brought us the English language cover of Falco's "Der Kommisar". Of course, that's the song that they're best known for. Would it surprise you that they actually started off as a prog rock band? That's true! They were a Christian-oriented band but I never found their lyrics proselytizing. In 1978 they released Signs of Life and is nothing like the new wave albums they would release. This is your keyboard-driven prog, lots of Hammond organ and Moog, in the ELP, Genesis, and perhaps Greenslade style, with the occasional venture into English folk influences that's not a million miles away from the likes of Fairport Convention or Steeleye Span (but no female vocals). Keyboardist Peter Banks had to rename himself "Memory" Banks to avoid confusion with the ex-Yes guitarist with the same name. Peter Banks was also in a band called Narnia who released an album called Aslan is not a Tame Lion in 1974.

Given Signs of Life was released in 1978, the band realized that prog was pretty much a dead end. They quickly signed a deal with CBS, and turned to new wave.

Signs of Life, is the only album you need from them if you're a prog rock fan. Unfortunately I didn't find this to be the lost gem of progressive rock, some passages seem a bit insipid to my ears, but it's still worth getting. For the new wave fans of the band (those who enjoy "Der Kommisar"), be prepared for a shock.

 Der Kommissar by AFTER THE FIRE album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1982
2.91 | 3 ratings

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Der Kommissar
After The Fire Symphonic Prog

Review by Easy Livin
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

3 stars From prog to punk

"Der Kommissar" has all the appearance of a bona fide studio release, but it is in fact a compilation drawing tracks from three ATF albums, "Laser love", "80-F" and "Batteries not included". Because it contains what are considered to be the best tracks from these three albums, it sold well, becoming the band's most successful album. There are two slightly different versions of the album, depending which side of the Atlantic you are on (in North America it was simply called "ATF"), and there is also a much larger CD box set with a similar title. Unfortunately, the collection does not include anything from the band's first album, which constituted their only genuine link with prog.

This album takes its title from the final single released by the band, a cover of a song by Falco which was a hit for both bands. While all of the songs except the title track appeared on the three albums mentioned, some of the versions here are re-recordings or alternative versions from the same sessions. Given that the recording of the first album (of the three mentioned above) alone involved 5 different producers, and that the second was remade after rejection by the record label, this leaves some scope for variations.

Thus, what we have here is a collection of 13 new wave and punk pop style tracks which at the time were credibly contemporary, indeed since they predate much of the similar type of music released in the 1980's, they could be regarded as progressive with a definite small p.

In an obvious but understandable marketing ploy, the non-album single "Der Kommissar" is placed right up front on the album. The song reflects the new wave of the late 70's early 80's purveyed by bands such as Talking Heads, and the melodic punk of other bands like the Boomtown Rats. Thereafter, the tracks from the three albums are mixed together to form a more satisfactory set. Only three tracks from "Laser love" are included, but they do include the appealing instrumental "Joy" and another hit song" One rule for you". "80-F" on the other hand donates no fewer than 5 songs.

To be clear, this album appears on this site due to the band recording one album which contained prog tenets. There is no direct relationship between the two albums in musical terms though. Those seeking prog need not detain themselves here.

 Laser Love by AFTER THE FIRE album cover Studio Album, 1979
2.08 | 5 ratings

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Laser Love
After The Fire Symphonic Prog

Review by Easy Livin
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

2 stars After the prog

After the Fire (known in North America simply as ATF) appear on this site because they released one prog album, this is not it. The band's first album "Signs of change" was for many years a collectible prog rarity, although it has in recent years become more readily available on CD. After the limited release of their debut, ATF signed with CBS records (in 1978), and completely revamped their style and sound. What emerged was a band who had moved with the times, and reinvented themselves as an electronic new wave outfit with a focus on short pop orientated songs. During this phase, keyboards player Peter Banks changed his name to Memory Banks, purportedly to avoid confusion with the ex-Yes man. Prior to work commencing on the album bassist Nick Battle left the band, with guitarist Andy Piercy switching to bass and new guitarist John Russell stepping in.

"Laser love", which emerged in 1979, proved to be something of a hotchpotch album, involving 5 different producers including Muff Winwood, Rupert Prine and the band themselves. Understandably this impacts on the continuity of the album, but perhaps in the new age era such things were less important. The LP has the standard pop structure of two sides containing 5 songs of radio friendly length and structure. The best known of these is probably the chart single "One rule for you" but in reality it is interchangeable with most of the tracks on the album.

Put simply, there is nothing prog about this album. at all. Tracks such as "Laser love" and "One rule for you" offer decent quality pop with a punk tinge, but that is all they offer. There are similarities with the Boomtown Rats in particular, the punk connections being similarly superficial in nature. Most of the tracks feature dominant synth backing tracks, which now sound very much of their time, but back in 1979 would have still been rather novel. In that sense, the band were one of the leaders towards the sounds of the 80's.

There are two slight exceptions to the new wave/punk pop, and that is the instrumentals "Joy" and "Timestar". While still firmly rooted in pop, these virtuoso synth performances are superb workouts, and its lots of fun too. The latter seems to be loosely based on "Telstar", a classic single from the early 1960's.

Many bands have made transitions form one genre to another. Such changes can often be a firm indication of ambition, and a willingness to test the waters in others areas. In most cases though, vestiges of the bands previous work can be heard somewhere along the way. It is rare for a band to make such a substantial and dramatic change from one album to the next as we witness here. The only link between ATF's first album and this one is that the line up is substantially the same. In its own right, this is not a bad new wave/punk pop album. That though is all that it is.

 Signs Of  Change by AFTER THE FIRE album cover Studio Album, 1977
2.61 | 18 ratings

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Signs Of Change
After The Fire Symphonic Prog

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

2 stars By 1977, ATF had been in existence for the better part of a decade and accumulated an impressive canon of Christian oriented progressive rock, at least in quantity. It is telling that the bonus material included on the CD reissue is of equal quality to that which appeared on the original LP release, and doesn't sound much different either.

This is heavily organ dominated music, being the main instrument in essentially every song, with just a few dollops of synthesizer and few places where guitars are cut loose. While Peter Banks can claim Keith Emerson as influence, the overall effect of ATF is far more grounded than ELP, more a la Deep Purple by way of proto prog acts like Beggars' Opera. Most tracks contain a hook or two that makes them mildly interesting, and some less convincing jamming. Other than a few near-Celtic numbers, most of the songs are interchangeable, with perhaps the best being "Back to the Light" and "Dreamaway". It is not hard to see how they could not find a backer for their recording in 1977, as by then the best of this style, which assuredly does not include ATF, was already passe.

Mostly of interest as a lost link between prog and new wave, and admittedly for aficionados of non stop organ (even Procol Harum knew how to give it a rest sometimes), "Signs of Change" is thus aptly named, and represents an argument for devolution of prog into new wave while bypassing the fire of punk. Bring on "Der Komissar".

Thanks to dean for the artist addition.

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