Beyond the Black – W.O.A. Acoustic Clash: The Lockdown Session (Napalm)

Monday, 4th January 2021
Rating: 8/10

Keeping in line with the whole ‘keeping busy during quarantine’ piece, Beyond the Black brings us a non-traditional acoustic EP. Instead of doing their own tracks with this (an easy, logical choice considering their discography), the band takes four songs from other bands and gives us an acoustic rendering of them. It’s a fun, playful release that fans will definitely dig.

With some varied acts at hand, Beyond the Black shows some strength in diversity in tackling them and delivering an enjoyable listening experience. Starting off with Sabaton’s “To Hell and Back,” they take the upbeat and bouncy song and give it an equally stirring acoustic take, complete with some flute. The song is captured perfectly, and the strongest piece is how they make it so upbeat without the metallic muscle to flex. The oddest choice is that of Disturbed’s “Down with the Sickness,” but for what it’s worth the band makes it work. The dark atmosphere still stays at the forefront and has a haunting quality to it. Chris Hermsdörfer does the harsh vocals, which still seem to fit given the acoustic treatment. Volbeat’s “A Warrior’s Call” stands out as a real showstopper for Jennifer Haben’s vocals. Michael Poulsen has an instantly recognizable voice, and Haben does an excellent job in making the song her own while ‘keeping to the script.’ The final track, Iron Maiden’s classic “The Trooper” is probably the most fun of the four. Rollicking and hooky, it’s a great track for the acoustic treatment, and the combination of Haben’s soaring vocals and the playful percussion and riffs makes for an absolute treat to listen to – for either Beyond the Black or Maiden fans.

Something we probably wouldn’t have gotten in a world without COVID, this acoustic session is a fun bit that keeps the band fresh in people’s minds as well as gives them a springboard to grab a few new fans who stumble upon the cover of a band they also enjoy. A fun little release for those seeking some nontraditional covers or Beyond the Black fans.

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