There’s just something about a melodic, twin-guitar attack in heavy metal that hooks me every time. Bands have been doing it for as long as heavy metal has been a genre, with some of the most notable examples being Thin Lizzy, Judas Priest, and Iron Maiden. The sound is pretty popular in power metal, a genre that takes much of its sonic cues from the latter two bands I mentioned, and yet, as often as it gets used, I still can’t get enough. Upon hearing the first few notes of “On The Edge Of Twilight,” opening track on Beyond the Veil by the UK’s Dark Forest, I gave an immediate fist pump of approval.
Filled with tales of mythology and history, Beyond The Veil is a pretty straightforward power metal release, with an emphasis on the classic NWOBHM melodic tone. The lyrics, coupled with the occasional foray into acoustic territory on the instrumental tracks “Lunantishee” and “Ellylldan,” give Dark Forest a distinctly medieval vibe. The band’s fusion of power and classic heavy metal is absolutely flawless, giving them a sound that falls somewhere between Blind Guardian and Iron Maiden, and boasts some pretty impressive musicianship that stands on its own. The vocals, again remind me of Iron Maiden, sounding pretty similar to Bruce Dickinson’s mid-range, though there’s some pretty high-pitched falsetto thrown in as well, as can be heard on “On The Edge Of Twilight.”
The production on Beyond The Veil really does the material justice; while giving the lead guitars and vocals a big boost, the bass, drums, and rhythm guitar work manage to all shine as well. While the melodic lead guitar parts often get such big emphasis in the mix of power metal albums that they end up softening the “heavy” edge of what is essentially still supposed to be heavy metal, this is not the case here. Beyond The Veil, which has some pretty crushing riffs and thunderous drums that are just as enjoyable as the melodies and lyrics. If you’re in the mood for some epic-sounding metal, but have overplayed your HammerFall or Blind Guardian records, give Dark Forest a spin!