I remember listening to Stream Of Passion’s “A War of Our Own” back in 2014 and being completely blown away by the beautiful music – and as fate willed, the band broke up one week ago. But luckily, the Dutch symphonic metal band Beyond God, which happen to play a quite similar style of music, have just released their first full-length “A Moment of Black” two weeks ago.
Overall, “A Moment of Black” doesn’t sound like the average symphonic metal record. It’s less dramatic and quite atmospheric. I have to say though, that some parts of this album sound very familiar. The intro “A Beautiful Beginning” is pretty much a shorter and less epic version of the intro of “Black Symphony” (live-DVD) by Within Temptation. The second part of “A Moment of Black” also reminds me a lot of “Lucidity” by Delain.
The vocals by Meryl Foreman give the album a very clean, soft and calm feeling. Her style is strongly influenced by Marcela Bovio (Stream Of Passion) and, again, Delain’s Charlotte Wessels, but her voice actually has a cleaner tone than those of the aforementioned singers (think of Elize Ryd …). Generally, Meryl’s vocal performance sounds like a mix of pop, classical mezzosoprano vocals and even a little bit of musical style, and it’s great to hear many influences in her singing. These days, the audiences are expecting much more versatility from a symphonic metal singer than a decade ago.
Besides some rather unspectacular guitar riffs and drums, the occasional guitar solo, keys and piano melodies as well as choir vocals here and there, there’s not much more about the record. Admittedly, there are a bunch of things I don’t like about “A Moment of Black”. First of all, I feel that the vocals are too loud and way too much in the foreground compared to the instruments. On the contrary, the instruments sound flat, but this is an issue rather easily fixed in the studio.
Actually, it’s too bad there’s not much about “A Moment of Black” that is really remarkable. And even though the vocals are well executed and quite touching in places, I can’t find any true highlights. The biggest issue is that the album lacks really great melodies. “Prince Creep”, “Memories” and “Nocturne” are quite well-written songs, but most of the other eight tracks lack something special that will make you remember them.
Overall, Beyond God haven’t reinvented the wheel with “A Moment of Black”, but have created a decent album which simply lacks a little bit more oomph and diversity. But let’s bear in mind that this is Beyond God’s first album. Actually, I believe that they have a lot more to offer. We’ll have to wait and see – unfortunately, I didn’t like Beyond God’s first full-length as much as I initially expected to. Chances are, though, that their strong frontwoman will be the key to success – now that Stream of Passion don’t exist anymore and that Delain don’t play the same music they did ten years ago …
01. A Beautiful Beginning 1:47
02. Prince Creep 5:08
03. Sail Away Upon A Cloud 5:07
04. Send A Child 4:34
05. Nocturne 2:40
06. Memories 5:03
07. Sonambula 4:22
08. Destination Darkness 5:35
09. Cursed 4:20
10. Ghost Ship 4:30
11. Passion 5:03
Label: Painted Bass Records