Dark Sarah – Behind the Black Veil (Inner Wound Recordings)Sunday, 31st May 2015
If only Dark Sarah was the namesake band of someone. While it’s not necessarily the most menacing of stage names to come about, it’s indicative of how short the straws are in the female-fronted field. This style virtually rewrites itself each and every time. Which is what happens with Dark Sarah’s debut, Behind the Black Veil. The project of former Amberian Dawn singer Heidi Parviainen, Dark Sarah is based upon “a young woman left at the altar by her husband. When she is on the verge of breaking down, something wakes up inside of her and she changes into another person; her meaner half, Dark Sarah.” There you go.
Stylistically, Behind the Black Veil doesn’t go very far; it’s quite rudimentary, even. Filled with basic riffing, basic orchestration, and basic vocal melodies from Parviainen, there’s not much to root around with on cuts such as “Poison Apple,” “Evil Roots,” and “Hunting the Dreamer,” which had this scribe thinking of the Nightwish song “Slaying the Dreamer.” Alas, they’re different. Sonata Arctica main dude/scarf wearer Tony Kakko pops up on “Light in You,” giving the album one of its few standout moments. That, along with the melodic back-and-forth found on “Sun, Moon, and Stars” are really all that’s worth delving into.
Parviainen, like so many of her contemporaries, does little to separate herself from the pack, which part of the larger issue with Dark Sarah. Certainly no one is banging down the door and asking for more bands like this (the breaking point for female-fronted symphonic metal bands took place years ago), so it’s up to the songs and vocalist in said band to make things. For Dark Sarah and Behind the Black Veil, there’s much ado about nothing, unfortunately.