ALBUM REVIEW: Beyond The Black – Horizons

Release Date: June 19th 2020
Label: Napalm Records


With a huge line-up overhaul in 2016, seeing Jennifer Habes as the only remaining member, Beyond The Black has taken a new form and returned with a whole new line-up for their fourth record, ‘Horizons’.

Opening with ominous synths and echoing chants of the title, ‘Horizons’ has a number of avenues to go down but chooses the path of power metal chords mixed with operatic vocals that are overly cheesy, and at points the background synths override to the foreground, which end up muddying the waters to much.

Follower ‘Misery’ cringingly increases the level of corniness by injecting classical stringed synths and battle metal-esque lyrics that end up sounding like they should be on the next Jess Glynne or Sigala release.

One of the biggest downfalls being presented throughout the record here is the band’s tendency to focus and depend far too much on the vocal talents of Habes, and as a result the instrumentation all too often falls to the wayside.

The lackadaisical writing comes to the forefront in both ‘Marching On’ and ‘You’re Not Alone’ where even the same rhythm and beat is used in both tracks, with an exact “Da-da-dun-da-dun-dun” utilised in a verse and a break. It’s hard to not feel sorry for Chris Hermsdorfer and Tobi Lodes, who seem to be restricted to a simple style of chords and brief forays for a single opportunistic solo or acoustic clean section.

A last glimmer of hope comes in the closing track, ‘Welcome To The Wasteland’, where we finally get to hear the separation of the guitar parts in their individual roles and comes as a refreshing alternative to the unconfrontational instrumentation.

Unfortunately, that change comes all to late for ‘Horizons’, a train wreck of disappointment that focuses on a singular emotion of euphoric uprising battling against the elements of negativity, but doesn’t actually get anywhere near to invoking it. Ultimately, your instrumentation is just as important as your vocals. Don’t constrict one or the other.