As the Gothic Metal scene has had less to offer during the recent years it is no wonder that there emerge bands trying to do their best to diversify the elderly formula of the genre. BEYOND THE DREAM hailing from Finland are one of those groups and their strivings can be heard nearly all the way through their debut CD. Even though they are labelled as a Goth/Black Metal act it is the first of these two styles that constitutes the core of their music that is wrapped in inspirations exceeding the borders of them both.
The short intro does not surprise with anything unusual featuring a symphonic key layer accompanied by several march-like drumming sequences plus some oral efforts at the end. An opener typical of Goth Black Metal bands. A real kick can be experienced a while later with the first sounds of “Beautiful Little Storm”, which primarily may tickle the fancy of those who enjoy powerful bass drums. Indeed such power and intensity in the drum department is not anything usual for the Goth genre, but is always a welcome feature. Together with the vocalist’s efforts and some guitar tracks the rhythm section makes certain parts of this song (plus some other ones) quite similar to what we are accustomed to receive from for instance CRADLE OF FILTH. This group comes to mind particularly in the moments where the Finns are using whispered vocal lines. Talking of these, they are exclusively made by a man’s throat, which is another thing that makes BEYOND THE DREAM different from a typical Gothic ensemble. Their harshness and aggressiveness goes very well with the overall surprisingly energetic character of the album compositions, something that has been achieved thanks to a number of powerful fast riffs inspired to a considerable extent by the Thrash school of Metal music. At first this combination might seem a bit odd – after all Goth and Thrash Metal can be considered poles apart – but on second thoughts and after repeated listening one may also conclude that there is some appeal in such a combination, especially if we contrast this with hundreds of bland melodic dark acts. Thanks to this it is not excluded that even fans of some more extreme music styles will turn their attention to this group.
A pretty relevant role is being played by the keyboards, which generate the very catchy musical leitmotifs on the album’s first several tracks. The effect their work causes can be sometimes easily compared to the one that NIGHTWISH’s music has. Also the choir-like parts appearing here and there seem to be an obvious reference to this famous act. No need, though, to be afraid of being awash with overemotional dose of key lines as BEYOND THE DREAM managed to mix their instruments in good proportions. Another plus is the production characterized by fairly clear, modern, yet not “plastic” sound.
All in all the Finns deserve being noticed on the music scene both for good song-writing and for their striving in searching for some new quality in the Goth Metal genre. The release of “The Sin Against Sinners” does not mean any revolution but there is definitely a chance that the album will gain some wider appreciation. A decent thing and a well-deserved 7/10.
(Online March 27, 2009)