Beyond The Black - 'Beyond The Black' Album Review
1. Is There Anybody Out There?
3. Free Me
4. Winter is Coming
5. Into The Light
6. Wide Awake
7. Dancing In The Dark
8. Raise Your Head
9. Not In Our Name
10. I Remember Dying
I was really excited when I heard that a new Beyond the Black album was coming. They may not be huge here in the UK, but they are a band who I think have produced some of the best female-fronted Symphonic Metal of the last ten years, so new music from them is always going to be something I am excited about.
This is their fifth studio album, and starts out with one of the strongest songs I have ever heard – “Is There Anybody Out There.” This opening track is absolutely superb, serving up a strong slice of hard hitting Metal for you to sing along and/or bang your head to accordingly. This is one of the best tracks on the album, and I was a little worried that it would set up a standard that the rest of the album wouldn’t meet.
I didn’t really need to worry, to be honest. Yes, “Is There Anybody Out There” is one of the best songs on the album, but it’s not like we get a dive in quality from then on or anything! “Reincarnation” is a great, steady, Metal song, and “Free Me” is almost ballad-esque, while still remaining a wonderfully heavy edge.
Then we get to the next absolutely outstanding track – “Winter is Coming”. The opening riff for this is a killer, and I challenge anyone to not get pumped up and excited by it as the slowly ascending guitars pound their way into your mind. With its memorable chorus and screaming solo that is so simply designed yet so perfect for the song, this is probably my favourite track on the album (at the moment – repeat listens may cause this ranking to change slightly).
And the album continues on at this full pelt perfection from here on out. “Into the Light” is a bit slower but no less great because of it, with some amazing vocals that I can just imagine being sung along with at gigs. “Wide Awake” is the traditional ballad, but it still manages to keep a backbone of Metal and is so confidently sung that it’s sure to be a favourite for many. “Dancing in the Dark” is another one of my favourites, and it’s really hard to say why, except that it feels like a culmination of what all the best Beyond the Black songs are made of.
The album stays strong as it reaches the end as well, with “Raise Your Head”, “Not in your Name” and “I Remember Dying” all being very strong tracks that could have all been singles – they all have a different sound, but all sound unmistakably like Beyond the Black.
I haven’t mentioned the performance or production, and that’s really because it’s tough to say anything other than perfect. These songs sound EXACTLY like I think they ought to sound. All performances are super strong across the board, and the full, lush production really helps to make the songs sound amazing.
One thing that some fans may be pleased to hear, is that this album has less of the electronic touches that their previous album “Horizons” contained. The overall sound in “Beyond the Black” is closer to their third album “Heart of the Hurricane”, which I know will please a lot of people who consider that to be one of their best.
In short, Beyond the Black have started 2023 with an album that is going to take some beating! This is an almost perfect album, ten tracks and not a filler amongst them. If you like powerful Metal sung by powerful women, or just superb songs, then 'Beyond the Black' is an album you absolutely must pick up as soon as it releases.
Website - beyond-the-black.com
Review - Michael Braunton