June 2020 Album of the Month: Beyond the Black’s HorizonsMonday, 13th July 2020
Bands evolve, bands change their sound. Fans are often insistent to embrace those changes, particularly when they make a turn towards the ‘mainstream’ or embrace more pop-driven elements. But Beyond the Black, with Horizons, have proven that they know how to approach these potentially unsettling waters with charm and grace. Horizons takes the band’s symphonic metal roots and injects them with more upbeat and rock elements while keeping it incredibly catchy and palatable for fans. Their strongest album to date, and one that offers a new freshness to it that should help move them even further up the melodic metal ranks.
An excerpt from Kyle McGinn’s 9.5/10 review, which posted on June 12, 2020:
Some may find this to be a polarizing album for the band, and perhaps justifiably so, as the level of poppiness that has always existed in Beyond the Black has definitely been augmented, along with a decrease in fantasy-based lyrics in favor of some more ‘real-world’ ones. With that increase in pop directions, some of their symphonic metal roots have been left scattered in the wake. So while some may throw up their arms in revolt, others (like this scribe) are going to argue that this might be their finest work yet. You can hear hints of Horizons as you travel back to Heart of a Hurricane, but Horizons seems embrace things on a whole new level. Easily noticeable on the opening title track, there’s a more direct/rock-ish approach and less ‘wall of sound’ symphonic metal vibe. But that doesn’t stop the chorus from being just as soaring and addictive as anything the band has previously released. Follow-up “Misery” is about as poppy as it gets on Horizons, but it’s also one of the most initially appealing cuts on the release, with an energetic chorus that highlights Haben’s ever-solid vocal delivery and near-danceable rhythms.
For those open to hearing Beyond the Black come out of their symphonic metal shell a bit, Horizons is an absolute winner. The band has really embraced a sound that puts them into more of their own musical space, and they should reap the benefits from it moving forward. Jennifer Haben shines, truly proving herself as one of metal’s vocal elite, and finally having a stable and talented group of musicians that aren’t afraid to push some boundaries means there should be even bigger and better things to come. But for now, Horizons is an addictive piece of metal-meets-pop bliss.