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Beyond Forgiveness - The Ferryman’s Shore
Written by C.   
Saturday, 11 June 2016

Beyond Forgiveness - CD Review
The Ferryman’s Shore

Beyond Forgiveness - The Ferryman’s Shore 

 

CD Info
Genre: Symphonic metal
Label: Independent
Language: English
Tracks: 5 Total time: 27:37
Rating: 9 of 10

Even though Colorado-based quartet Beyond Forgiveness has just released their debut EP, their beginnings go back over the course of over a decade. When founding members Richard Marcus and Greg Witwer first met while playing in the band Hells Eden together, they would bounce back and forth through numerous bands before finally deciding to further venture into the sounds of gothic and power metal that had inspired them both. Deciding that they wanted to form a band with female vocals, Beyond Forgiveness got off to a shaky start when their first vocalist departed from the group before they could put an album together.

Determined not to give up, the remaining members pressed forward. Turns out, the vocalist they needed was right among them all along: enter Talia Hoit, an engineer that worked on the band’s album-in-progress. Having known her for being a talented keyboardist, the bandmembers had wanted to recruit Talia for that position, but the timing was never right for either of them. Little did they know that she was also a talented vocalist as well, until they heard her rough demo covering Within Temptation’s “Angels”, along with a small sample of the classical piece “O Mio Babbino Caro”. From that moment, they knew that Talia was just what they had been looking for, and with the reinstatement of original drummer Michael Bulach, Beyond Forgiveness was complete at last.

With Talia at the helm both on the microphone and behind the keyboards, Beyond Forgiveness went to work at crafting a symphonic sound influenced by the likes of Epica and Xandria. In early 2016, their years-long labor of love, The Ferryman’s Shore, finally saw the light of day, and Beyond Forgiveness was ready to show the world of symphonic metal what Colorado could do.

The opening track, “A Warrior’s Blessing”, is a short one-minute intro; but from the start, Talia’s powerful vocals pull you in. Almost instantly, the music of Beyond Forgiveness takes you on a journey: soaring operatic female vocals contrasting with a wickedly guttural male voice, combined with classical components and just the right amount of rock guitars and thunderous drums. Each song perfectly segues into the next one. “Dust to Dust” is powerful and melodic, and sets the listener up for the bombastic title track, which really showcases the band’s gothic influences with their descriptive lyrics, dark melodies, and contrasting vocals between Talia and Richard. “Perseverance” is chock-full of heavy, doomy gothic-laced harmonies, and the final track, “Your Haunting Eyes” (my favorite on the EP) is bona-fide symphonic/gothic metal with just a touch of progressive influence: theatrical, rhapsodic, hard-hitting, and majestic.

Overall opinion: I would highly recommend Beyond Forgiveness to fans of early Tristania and Enter/The Dance-era Within Temptation. There is a lot in their music that is reminiscent of those two bands: the same “beauty and the beast” vocal style between the male and female voices, and the same doom/gothic elements that made the earlier works of those two bands so fascinating. Talia is a phenomenal operatic vocalist that is probably more influenced by Simone Simons and less by Vibeke Stene, and Richard’s guttural vocals are very similar to Morten Veland. I have missed this sort of drastic contrast between the male and female vocals in symphonic/gothic metal; it seems like these days, bands are straying farther away from the style that made the scene so vibrant and interesting in its beginning; incorporating more of a “rap”-type voice or someone who can also pull off “clean” vocals as well. I am not a huge fan of the growly vocals, but I can enjoy them when they are in the right context, and Beyond Forgiveness knows exactly when to use those harsh vocals and when to keep them to a minimum. There is a lot of musical aptitude going on here; the songs are well-constructed, and it’s clear that the band knows the sound they are going for. Many debut offerings tend to suffer from musical fluctuation; going from one sound to another, not quite sure what they want to be. Beyond Forgiveness doesn’t have this problem—they know what they are and don’t hesitate to put their best foot forward. As the symphonic metal scene continues to grow in the U.S., I think Beyond Forgiveness is a name that will be one to look for as one of the standouts!

 

For more information on Beyond Forgiveness, visit the band’s Facebook page

Thanks to Richard Marcus, Greg Witwer, and Talia Hoit

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