When I read that BEYOND THE VOID was a Gothic Rock band from Germany and mentioned bands such as HIM and THE RASMUS as well as EVANESCENCE (not sure about the context though, that German language barrier again…) in the info I was mentally prepared to not like the album, mainly thanks to THE RASMUS being mentioned. I mean how credible can a band be when they jump from one bandwagon to the next one; changing from boyish Rock to very self-aware and polished (and not even good) Gothic Rock in one go? Not very in my opinion. But back to BTV then, there were two incredibly clichéd blue-tinted press photos as well which only caused more of an alarm in my head. In one of them the band members all have their eyes closed but there’s a huge open eye above their heads. Wow man, that must mean it’s like deep ‘n’ all u know (you can check the same image on their homepage and be as ‘awed’ as I was). Needless to say I was rather scared to find exactly what kind of music I would find on the CD.
Well it turned out I was gravely mistaken for the music’s not nearly as bad as I had thought. It’s still the kind of Gothic Rock that would appeal to all those gothic girls drinking wine in candlelight and listening to HIM or THE 69 EYES but it’s in fact quite good too. Yes, it is dramatic and the songs tell the usual story about romance, death and loneliness. Yes, the singer has a charismatic voice that sounds like Ville Valo at times and yes, he has blue fingernails and at least one member of the band uses too much mascara. Oh and yes, judging by this CD the band is bound to hit it big at least in Germany. Still, those things are somewhat easy to dismiss when you listen to the music.
“Raven In Your Heart” starts off with a nice albeit typical Gothic Rock riff mimicked by keyboards. The song follows a familiar pattern where the verses are quite calm, the bridge then picks up some speed and the chorus is the peak. A ‘safe’ opener that doesn’t really tell what’s yet in store. The magnificent interlude “Falling…” was oddly the track that really made me think twice about my opinion of the CD. If a band can make something this grand then it can’t be completely bad. “Turn White” is probably the best song on the CD. A melancholic track with great melodies (both guitar and vocal) that doesn’t follow the same pattern as the previous ones. All in all a prime example of what is a great Gothic Rock song. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this one was the first single off the album. “For All That Disappears” is another highlight of the CD. The verses themselves are not that great though but the bridge and chorus are just excellent; rocking and melodious. The ending track is again a better one. Great drums and guitars throughout the song and again a very good chorus.
Now note that I’ve only mentioned the best tracks above. There’re also a few decent songs such as the melancholic and calm “Painless”, the balladesque “The Price Of Infinity” or the darkly rocking “Everywhere I Turn”. Although there aren’t any real misses there are a couple of so-so tracks: “Waiting” and “Echoshade”. They’d probably work if listened in an ideal mood in candlelight with a bottle of red wine as company but right now they tend to get a little boring.
The musicianship is mostly on a good level although only the singer Daniel Pharos and lead guitarist Dominik Morgenroth come up to the forefront. Daniel’s voice is suiting for Gothic Rock: charismatic and romantic (his distinct German pronunciation is quite funny at times though). Dominik gets to show off his guitar mastery in many a solo which is undoubtedly good for him but not that necessary for the songs themselves. I can’t really say much about the rest of the group except that there are no obvious flaws to be noticed but that can also be thanks to studio’s engineering equipment and the fact that the music doesn’t require one to be a very talented musician. The production is also good. It’s clear enough so that most of the instruments can be identified and none gets drowned in the mix. The only negative thing I have to say here is that the cymbals’ sound gets irritable occasionally (especially on “Everywhere I Turn”).
Overall I get the same feeling I do with LACRIMAS PROFUNDERE and that is that some songs really hit me whereas the others are more or less indifferent. Still, albeit rather generic this is a promising debut and offers a strong base on which to build on on their next album. I’ve read some reviews that have been very excited about this band stating them to be the salvation of Gothic Rock but I certainly wouldn’t go as far. The band still has lots of work to do to earn that title but maybe next time around I’ll be giving them the title as well. For now though I’m sure this’ll win over the hearts of those who like HIM, DARKSEED, LACRIMAS PROFUNDERE and the likes. Besides, god forbid, I really don’t want to add any more stress on their already slumped shoulders. (Online August 18, 2004)