After Infinity is a Finnish Heavy Metal band that wanders a massive soundscape, incorporating many sub-genres and styles, creating an alloy that is relatively unique. Their strengths are composition and relatability. Recently, the bands primary composer and creative genius, Szolt Szilagyi, answered some questions I had and he went into a depth that was refreshing and made for a great read. If you like your Metal to be current, relatable, and eloquent, this is an album for you. Focusing heavily on current events and trends, you will understand the lyrics in your own way. Written to be somewhat open-ended to allow the listener to draw their own conclusions and bring their own experiences to bear, this album will make you think and the answers will make you rethink how you approach discussions with other people. I am grateful to Szolt for taking the time and applaud his thought process. This is an incredible album by an amazing band.

Band Members:

  • Zsolt Szilagyi – Guitars/Keyboards
  • Roi Partanen – Bass
  • Gideon Ricardo – Orchestration
  • Multiple singers were used on different tracks to great effect

Metal Zenith – Since Infinity is forever, how can there be something after that? It begs the question, how did the name of the band come about?

After Infinity – Mathematically speaking, what comes after infinity is a bigger infinity – as a matter of fact, more than an infinite number of infinities! The name doesn’t have much significance other than it sounded cool to me. Infinity feels somehow futuristic, mystical, scientific, a bit complex and intriguing. It invites you to explore it. Kind of how I want our music to sound like.

MZ – The album delves into recent and current events. What are the main events (besides the Derek Chauvin police brutality case) that influenced this record?

AI – I wrote the lyrics between 2020-2022. Different things that were occupying my head during those years had an influence. From political events, this includes Donald Trump’s presidency, the crazy new laws in the US regarding for example abortion that led to the general decline in women’s rights, and the police brutality case you mentioned. And then there’s Russia’s attack to Ukraine. And on the non-political side, maybe partly because of the covid-19 pandemic, I had a surprising amount of friends ending their long relationships, which influenced songs like Two Restless Hearts and Without You.

MZ – Was the vagueness of some of the references meant to allow fans from different nations to reflect on their own governments/nations actions?

AI – I want my lyrics to be easy to relate to, and being a bit vague helps by giving room for interpretation. For example Do What You’ve Got to Do can be interpreted as losing a loved one to an illness, a friend moving far away, or the end of a relationship. As another example, I wrote The Game of Chess about someone going to war because they have no choice, which has probably happened in pretty much every war ever, so the song could be relevant to someone who fought in World War II or someone in Russia today. Still, the message remains the same: it’s a song against war, and points the finger at the government. But to be honest, I don’t expect to change people’s opinions; they are more likely to interpret the songs to suit their own story.

MZ – As an American, I see parallels to my own nation, but as an analyst and someone who has studied other regions, I also see elements of China/Taiwan, Russia/Ukraine, Israel/Hamas, and even South/Central American politics. Is there any one conflict that is haunting you personally, or just the state of the world in general?

AI – As someone living in Finland in the 2020s, it’s definitely our neighbour Russia haunting me. Our whole country was so scared we even joined NATO.

MZ – Is there a particular song that holds a deeper meaning for you?

AI – If I must choose one, it’s Do What You’ve Got to Do, since it was influenced by something that happened to me personally. It took a while before I could listen to it without getting emotional.

MZ – Which is the song that inspires the most hope for you?

AI – The Power Beyond His Fight. While dealing with a very dark subject, it’s an uplifting song written to encourage a nation that was attacked. “Our honour shall never die”!

MZ – The instrumental sections and songs seem to be spaced to allow the listener to process what they’ve heard to that point, like a calm before the next storm. Was that the intent or just a “happy accident”?

AI – I guess it was more of an accident, at least lyric wise, since the music was mostly written before the lyrics, and the placement of instrumental songs on the album was done with the music in mind rather than lyrics. Musically speaking, it was very much intentional to have the proggy and heavy parts followed by a melodic or calm section and vice versa. I wanted to pump up the energy and then let it cool down, just to do it again and again. Kind of like going to a hot sauna, then cooling down in the lake or snow, and going back in again – I love playing with extremes!

MZ – Zsolt worked with Gideon Ricardo on his Woods Of Wonders project, now, Gideon seems to be a major player here. Are there more collaborative works being planned (More After Infinity, more Woods Of Wonders, something else entirely)?

AI – Yes, more After Infinity and more Woods of Wonders is in the works, and the plan is to have this iconic duo collaborating in both projects in the future. I love working with Gideon, we get along great and his work is always impressive.

MZ – Is there a possibility of After Infinity becoming more specific about the message they are trying to get across (specific nation/conflict) in more depth?

AI – Well, this interview certainly seems to be a chance for that! Truth be told, I’m a simple man who hates war, violence and oppression. I don’t have the deepest knowledge about all the aspects of politics, I don’t know how to solve all the problems in the world, but I’m not afraid of opening my mouth when I see something obviously bad happening. Of course it’s never black and white, but I think it’s safe to say that attacking another country is wrong, banning abortion is wrong, and the US could benefit from strict gun control and free public healthcare.

MZ – When you speak of re-electing him in “Crown Of Clowns,” are referring to Viktor Orban, Vladimir Putin, Benjamin Netanyahu, Donald trump or all of the above?

AI – This line was specifically written about Donald Trump during the 2020 elections, when I was sure he will be re-elected, which of course didn’t happen after all. Yet. That song is referencing a lot of events in the US. But I don’t mind people interpreting it differently, if it helps them blow off some steam.

MZ – Who are your least favorite leaders?

AI – Vladimir Putin’s actions have proved that he’s just purely evil and selfish. I also feel like Donald Trump doesn’t give a crap about helping those in society who actually need it. Despite my Hungarian roots I am not super familiar with all of Viktor Orban’s wrongdoings, but I have a feeling he’d make the list too.

MZ – Is there a leader you admire?

AI – Whenever one person has the power to make decisions alone, it seems to become a problem. Has there ever been a good leader with such power? Not that I know of. In Finland the prime minister holds the most power, but still can’t make decisions alone. So whatever happens, it’s thanks to a group of people, not a single leader. And in my opinion, that’s the best way to go. So the best leader is a group of intelligent, selfless people. Also Barack Obama seems pretty cool, although he too could be criticized for some of his actions and inactions.

MZ – Is there a possibility of After Infinity going for more of a socially conscious album, delving into things like the treatment of marginalized groups rather than the broader subject of general abuse of power by government/military/police groups?

AI – It’s possible for sure. It’s easy to put the blame on the government, but each individual is also responsible for their own actions, and that is a great idea for a song or two.

MZ – There are moments of hope on the album, what is the hopeful message you want the listener to take away from the album?

AI – It’s natural for me to always look for the light at the end of the tunnel, or at least some way of coping with whatever life throws at you. I hope the listener gets some of that sentiment. It’s nearly impossible to change someone else, so you must find the solution within you.

MZ – What is the biggest threat to society you see in the current moment?

AI – The widening gap between the left and right, caused by the inability to communicate with people who have a different opinion. It’s easy to argue over the internet without any respect for others, but shaming someone for their opinion will never help you get your point across. It will only widen the gap.

MZ – Is there one thing you think needs to be started as a change agent first, a catalyst that will help spark additional changes?

AI – The left and right need to learn to communicate with respect, find some common ground, and then we can finally start working on solving real problems instead of arguing about irrelevant things. Maybe there has to be some common enemy we can unite against, like the effects of global warming.

MZ – Would you consider bringing more world music into the compositions (Asian, Middle Eastern, South/Central American)?

AI – That’s not something I have in mind. I think we have established the main ingredients of an After Infinity album. But I’m not ruling it out completely; it could be a small section as part of a song for example, to spice things up a bit. I think the band Northtale did a good job with their song The Land of Mystic Rites, something like that could be fitting for us as well.

MZ – On a more personal level, what are the main influences (genres, bands) that fuel your compositional style?

AI – Heavy metal, power metal and progressive metal are my main influences. Bands like Dream Theater, Sonata Arctica, Stratovarius, Helloween, Seventh Wonder, Whitesnake, Skid Row, to name a few.

MZ – What message do you wish to impart on your fans, what is the main takeaway you want the listener to take from this record?

AI – What’s most important to me is that the listener enjoys the music, especially the album as a whole when listened from start to finish. No need to skip songs, and maybe additionally give a little repeat treatment to the favourite ones. Second most important thing is that the lyrics are relatable and help the listener cope with some of the strong feelings they are struggling with, just as writing them helped me.