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Wednesday 17 June 2020

Reviews: Beyond The Black, Dead Posey, Hank Von Hell, Sulferon (Reviews By Matt)

Beyond The Black: Hørizøns (Napalm Records)

We've watched the evolution of Beyond The Black across their previous records as they have re-defined the symphonic metal sound since forming in 2014. Beyond The Black is very much frontwoman Jennifer Haben's band, her voice is the integral part of the band's arsenal and the focus is very much on her stylistically and artisitcally, just check out the album cover that features just Haben three times. Still when you have a voice like hers it would be silly not to build the band around it, and from the opening moments of the title track her crystalline, powerful voice catches the ear above anything else. However that's doing  disservice to the the musical backing as her band: Stefan Herkenhoff (Bass), Chris Hermsdörfer (Guitar), Tobi Lodes (Guitar) and Kai Tschierschky (Drums) crank out symphonic metal that features the classic strings of the genre, along with some bagpipes on the massive Coming Home.

There are some darker tones, some melodic metal anthems, lots of electronic trickery and the hookiness of pop on tracks such as Misery a song that could have come off Lady Gaga's most recent album Chromatica. As with so many of the bands in the symphonic metal style, they have become more and more influenced by the Euro-pop sounds meaning that tracks like Wounded Healer sounds like a dance-metal ballad from Amaranthe, who's Elize Ryd duets with Jennifer. A very slick record Hørizøns is the culmination of what Beyond The Black have been striving for since their inception an album of powerful symphonic/melodic metal songs that move from string laden ballads such as Human and Out Of The Ashes, fist pumping rockers like Marching On which also showcase the excellent backing vocals from the guitarists while Paralysed sounds like it's from The Greatest Showman.  A much more inclusive sound here, aiming for a bigger audience that when they tour with Amaranthe (currently scheduled for November) will put them into the upper echelon of their genre. 7/10

Dead Posey: Malfunction (Sumerian Records)

Now if you've not heard the name Dead Posey before then get ready to be acquainted. Having already released one EP Freak Show in 2018, you will have heard Don't Stop The Devil from that EP featured everywhere TV shows like Lucifer, Jessica Jones, as well as WWE's Elimination Chamber 2019, suffice to say that song was pretty much everywhere propelling the band onto a 2019 tour with Theory Of A Deadman. Now that tour support will let you into what Dead Posey sound like they draw from left field influences that means they have a punk-infused, arty style of American radio rock, that dwells on the occult and the darker side of life. Dead Posey take their name from the old Nursery Rhyme "Ring Around The Rosey" so it's that spookiness that influences their music along with artists such as Rammstein, Joan Jett along with In This Moment and The Pretty Reckless.

What is surprising is that Dead Posey are a two piece comprised of Danyell Souza (Vocalist/Producer) and Tony F. (Producer/Multi-instrumentalist) but despite this the songs on Malfunction sound massive with throbbing electronic percussion the basis of every number giving a grind to the bluesy Parasite and a modern pop sound to Bad Things with it's clap-stomp rhythm. As good as they are as a band. Dead Posey aren't aimed at grizzled metal fans like me, they are very much for the youth market who love the rock with a huge heap of dark pop/electronic elements. The next in line to bands like Halestorm, In This Moment and New Years Day, Dead Posey's second EP is an amuse-bouche readying their fanbase for a full length. 6/10 

Hank Von Hell: Dead (Music For The Nations)

The former Turbonegro singer Hank Von Hell has unleashed a concept rock album, it's narrated by Frankie Loyal actor from Mayans M.C, produced by Tom Dalgety (Ghost, Rammstein and Opeth) who co-writes three tracks. It also features co-writes/performances by Cone McCaslin and Dave. Baksh of Sum 41 on the pop punk flavoured Radio Shadow. And his long term collaborator A.W Nine across 13 tracks that make up this 'death disco' where Hank muses over his dark past of drug addiction and resurrection due to scientology and getting clean, opening with the gothic, catchy as herpes, title track which sounds very much like Ghost possibly due to Tom Dalgety's influence as he produced the Swedes latest album Prequelle.

In fact this spooky Swedish rock sound cuts all the way through this album with a glorious amalgamation of 70's disco, 80's pop and sleaze garage rock, every song has a hook that will get you singing along with every chorus, it may even get you nice and sweaty with it's unashamed revelry. It's not all riffy party anthems though as he can turn his hand to muscular 80's ballads that remind this writer of the originator of glam/sleaze rocking Alice Cooper on Blackened Eyes. He's also got Disco which once again brings the spirit (pun intended) of Ghost (just listen to that synth) and a Crown featuring the addition of Guernica Mancini from the band Thundermother. Across this album Hank Von Hell is backed by his band, Jean Genus, Jones Kelly II, Mr.O who all pump these songs full of life, ironic considering the title. Dead could be the liveliest record of the year, filthy and furious, I'm sweating just sitting here. 8/10

Sulferon: Death And The Philosopher (Shub Niggurath Productions)

I've stated a few times in these pages, and it's really quite a well known fact, that Greeks love black metal, the gnarlier the better and on Death And The Philosopher we get some very gnarly old school black metal which has filthy production, a squawked vocal delivery, blistering blast beats and tremolo picking. Along with the many of the black metal underground Sulferon is also a one man project; Typhonas plays everything here including the keys that come in from time to time. Is it groundbreaking? No it's not it's basically D.I.Y black metal that favours quantity over quality, he's released 7 albums since his debut full length in 2015, sometimes two per year and they all pretty much sound like this so it's at least in keeping with the rest of his discography. Trve black metal cvltists will love it but I'm not too sure. 5/10

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