It's quite astonishing to realise that when a band creates its own new style and gets some commercial success, then suddenly tons of new band playing the same style appear. That happened in neo Metal with KORN, and in Holland, most of the new bands were simply copycats of THE GATHERING, like ORPHANAGE, WITHIN TEMPTATION, and now AFTER FOREVER.
For their second album, there are then Metal-guitars, soprano female vocals, and all the classics of the genre. But in addition to that, AFTER FOREVER also use real classical musicians (violins, cellos, oboe, choir, and so on), which gives their music a superior dimension. And all in all, AFTER FOREVER is a kind of baroque NIGHTWISH, or a less gothic version of WITHIN TEMPTATION, simply of better quality.
By the way, there's a reason why WITHIN TEMPTATION are opening for AFTER FOREVER, and not the opposite! Anyway, just listen to the track "Monolith Of Doubt", and you'll see the big difference between those two bands! AFTER FOREVER might not have created anything special, but a least they're a good band.