Dark Sarah calls the music on their new album Grim cinematic fantasy horror metal. I can kind of understand that. The intro song called My Name Is Luna is haunting and mysterious and immediately sets the right mood for the rest of the album. The second song The Chosen One introduces a heavy guitars sound on top of the haunting keyboard sound that was already present in the intro. This combined sound, alongside some very tight drums can be heard throughout the whole album. Immediately the high, operatic voice of Heidi Parviainen has an even stronger presence than it did in the short intro. At first hearing it reminded me strongly of Tarja Turunen, but I find this voice a lot more refined and crisper. The beautiful vocals go together harmoniously alongside the heavy-duty guitars mentioned earlier. But perhaps even more important are the creepy sounding, but also at often times happy off putting, eerie keyboards that are perhaps the most important instrument on this album, apart from vocals. Combined with these vocals it almost sounds like a bombastic church organ and choir. The music sadly at often times makes me want to draw comparisons, like for instance in the lower vocals I tend to pick up some similarities to later work of Delain, but despite that, I think Dark Sarah does a great job of doing their own thing, specifically on this album. Sometimes even the beautiful characteristic American sound of the 50s can be heard, for example in the beginning of the song La Folie Verte.
The storytelling on this album is also a great aspect. But, for a band that describes their music as being cinematic, I did expect a little bit more variation in the songs. There are a couple exceptions like for instance the beautiful ballad Iceheart and the duet with JP Leppäluoto called The Wolf and the Maiden. Another great song is Mörk, featuring Jasse Jatala. The grunts from the aforementioned, make the music more dynamic and opened up new possibilities. The strong Melancholia is a song I didn’t mention earlier. It has a lot of power and a great riff. But all in all, I can’t shake the feeling that the cinematic aspect could be more present than it is and there could be more variation in the songs. Don’t get me wrong, what Dark Sarah set out to do with this album, they mostly succeeded in that if you ask me. But it all seems to be a little bit shallow. On the other hand, you could say that this band clearly put a lot of thinking in constructing this album precisely the way they wanted to get it across and that is admirable to say the least. Their symphonic sounds and gorgeous operatic vocals, make Dark Sarah a unique band in a genre which is sometimes a little bit saturated.
Here you can read our earlier review of Dark Sarah’s The Golden Moth.