Beyond The Black – “Hørizøns” (Napalm Records)
Battle Helm Rating
Formed just 6 years ago, Beyond The Black have released 3 prior albums and have enjoyed success in the German and Austrian charts, supported Saxon and Hell, as well as playing festivals like Wacken and Wave-Gotik-Treffen. Formed by lead vocalist Jennifer Haben (ex Saphir), who in 2016 recruited an entirely new band, Beyond The Black are often described as symphonic metal or even gothic metal, although the 13 tracks on “Hørizøns” might suggest otherwise, being in the main melodic rock with strong pop overtones, although not without symphonic and gothic elements. Whatever the case, there’s no denying the huge appeal and deep passions running through all the moving songs, and as such, the undeniable talent behind the composing and superb delivery of the music. With a seasoned line up including twin guitarists Christian Hermsdörfer (Serenity, Fallen After Midnight, ex-Visions of Atlantis) and Tobi Lodes (Winterstorm) behind her, the powerful and moving vocals of Haben time and again melt your heart in romantic, orchestrally backed pieces while elsewhere providing the stirring catalyst on the more energetic numbers, all the while backed superbly by her male counterparts. Indeed, keen to counter prior criticism that Beyond The Black was solely a platform for Haben, the mix is well balanced in reflecting the entire band’s contribution, with plenty guitar work and also dual male vocals. Apparently singing in a pop band when she was 15, those early inspirations are evident in ‘Misery’ (featuring guest vocalist Elize Rhyde of Amaranthe) through its catchy harmonies and pumping dance groove, although it’s the deep melody and somewhat melancholic edge that really steal the show and make it appealing as a rock song. Opening with a delicate piano and melancholic violins in the background on ‘Out Of The Ashes’, Haben smoothly blends emotion with sultriness, complemented brilliantly by the guitars in building to the hugely emotional chorus, and when the male vocals come in, the dual effect is nothing short of immense and needless to say, utterly enchanting. Rocking in on ‘Paralyzed’, Kai Tschierschky’s (ex-God’s Second Son) hard drumming provides the perfect contrasting backdrop to the suave pop vocals of Haben made even more alluring by Stefan Herkenhoff’s sexy bass, but it’s the culminating chorus unleashing pure red blooded passion through its massive melodies and harmonies that make this track nothing short of electrifying – indeed, “Hørizøns” is well beyond expectations as Beyond The Black’s finest work yet!