Dark Sarah - Behind The Black Veil
Inner Wound Recordings
Cinematic/Symphonic Metal
14 songs (63:00)
Release year: 0
Reviewed by Joel
Surprise of the month
Haunting melodies, and the operatic vocals of Heidi Parviainen finds a way to captivate you through the first few minutes, that is nothing more than a very somber song before the rest of the band joins in. What your in store for, is a cinematic adventure about the demise of a young woman left at the altar, and how she transforms into someone else. If concept albums, soprano's, symphonic metal, or even rock opera albums don't entertain you, then Behind The Black Veil is not for you. Poison Apple opens like the next scene in a movie or a musical, building itself up to its climax. A climax this time that features Ms. Parviainen changing her vocal style, from operatic to more straight ahead rock/metal. The song also features a well played guitar solo, that is a musical highlight to the song. Hide and Seek has Parviainen at her best, nothing but soft melacholic piano and orchestration and her. A beautiful song that leads into the dark, and memorable Memories Fall featuring Manuela Kraller(Ex-Xandria). The second duet is next with Van Canto's Inga Scharf. A good versus evil battle is what I get from Evil Roots. With both vocalist trading melodies and sharing the chorus. The gutiar work on this song is phenomonal with some intricate guitar riffs, and a technical solo, that is memorable when the disc ends. Violent Roses is very musical/Broadway-esque, with a very playful Parviainen having fun with the melody, and doing some “acting.” One of the more direct melodic yet heavier(by comparison to the rest of the disc) is Hunting The Dreamer. Bringing memories back to her prior band, Amberian Dawn. To those unfamiliar with them, may consider it a Nightwish-esque song from the Tarja era. While similarities are there, from the strings and guitar power chords, Parviainen's tone is what sets the song apart. The chorus of this song is sung in her native tongue of Finnish.

The haunting Fortress is next, much like Save Me began, a melancholic melody matched to Parviainen's vocals are all you hear. The song does reach its crescendo at the first chorus, and continues to build and as it keeps its darker tone. Silver Tree features some nice melodic orchestrations taking the lead in the beginning, while the verses features a more straight ahead stop and go melody with vocals that sit somewhere between standard and operatic, never settling in on or the other. Another slower song that becomes more mid paced is Sun Moon and Stars. The changes in the melody after the two minute and twenty second mark, gives what could have been a rather plain song, a nice melodic and compositional jolt. The final duet, Light In You, featuring the always recognizable voice of Tony Kakko of Sonata Arctica. Kakko's has a good voice, but he sounds great here, as if Parviainen's influence only makes his performance even better. A beautiful ballad, that is not all soft, not all happy, and definitely moving. Sarah's Theme is Parviainen's reprise of earlier melodies on the disc, while humming and singing phrases versus lyrics. An orchestral version of Memories Fall is a great alternate to the heavier version heard earlier on the disc. A dark but fun, A Grim Christmas Story, is humorous and if Danny Elfman heard this song, he would have wondered how he didn't write it for A Nightmare Before Christmas.

While this is not for every metalhead, it is ambitious and performed by a talented group of professional musicians. With Ms. Parviainen being the focus of the band(as she should be), she carries this sad story of Sarah, to heights a lesser vocalist would not have been able to do so. Cinematic Metal is a great way of describing this. Without any major pomp and cirumstance, Behind The Black Veil is grandiose without being bloated, moving without being boring. If you have a love for Symphonic Metal, or any of the styles I mentioned, this is a purchase you may not have realized you needed.

NOTE: The release date for Europe is on May 8th.
Killing Songs :
Memories Fall, Evil Roots, Hunting The Dreamer, Silver Tree, Sun Moon Stars
Joel quoted 86 / 100
Other albums by Dark Sarah that we have reviewed:
Dark Sarah - The Puzzle reviewed by Joel and quoted 88 / 100
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