The only true alchemy in this world occurs when trials turn to gold, the debris and heartbreak of life transformed and polished into shining beauty by a loving, unseen hand. We try to catch a glimpse of this remarkable change in action, yet human eyes fail us. However, once these storms of life pass, we see the afterglow through signs as sure as Noah’s ancient rainbow. A loved one overcomes. Morning breaks after an impossibly long night. Grace thunders through spiritual drought with a mighty downpour of living water. All of this, and more, affirms the fact that yes, life is beautiful.
Such alchemy transforms The Afters’ fourth studio album, Life Is Beautiful, though the title came innocently enough to vocalist-guitarist Josh Havens. He’s been carrying it in his head ever since the release of the Oscar-winning 1997 film of the same name. But by the time the music came to fruition, Havens said he was wrestling with an ordeal that tested him like no other—and this from a guy who, along with his wife and kids, survived a near-fatal car wreck several years prior