Deutschland has been known as a breeding ground of Heavy Metal for many decades now. From Helloween to Scorpions and Rammstein, there has been no shortage of some great music coming out of the country. In more recent history you have a new wave of Modern Metal bands emerging, and one of them is Beyond the Black.
First formed in 2014 when lead voice Jennifer Haben was only nineteen years old, they quickly made an impact in their homeland of Germany with their 2015 debut album Songs of Love and Death. In fact, the album held a spot in the German Top 15 for weeks, soon resulting in the band receiving the Metal Hammer Award for “Best Debut” that year. Impressive, they followed up in 2016 with Lost in Forever, in 2018 with Heart of a Hurricane, before Hørizøns in 2020. Each showcasing elements of Metal, Alternative Rock, and Pop, it has almost been a decade since Beyond the Black debuted… so what are they doing now?
Well, it has been a busy nine plus years for Haben and the band; this includes the consistent release of music and some heavy touring. However, in 2023 they returned with their self-titled album. Their longest span between album releases since they began, Beyond the Black arrived on January 13th through Nuclear Blast Records and could be described as their most interesting effort to date.
Previously doing a very solid job of creating solid songs to showcase Haben’s very strong, diverse voice, what this album offers is refined cohesion. This is apparent because as a collective album the tracks all seem to flow into one another with ease. Ten to pick from in total, many of the songs have struck the fancy of listeners for a while – this includes 2022’s very Celtic lead single “Reincarnation,” the unique, addictive “Is There Anybody Out There?,” “Winter Is Coming,” and “Dancing in the Dark.” Beyond these, “Into the Light,” “Raise Your Head,” and “Not Our Name” keep the upbeat tempos coming strong, all while “Wide Awake” takes the mood down a bit for something more delicate.
In all, this album feels like Beyond the Black’s most complete to date. Haben, along with Tobi Lodes (guitars, backing vocals), Chris Hermsdörfer (guitars, backing vocals) and Kai Tschierschky (drums) have come together to create some music that sticks with you. Unquestionably having Pop elements, the guitar work is very Classic Metal/Rock and the large production adds something even more enticing to everything.
An album you should not miss, they also released the one-off rocking single “Call My Name” in July, but also put out a stripped-down version of “Wide Awake” on December 15th. Looking at the most recent, it features Haben alone with a piano, creating an ear-tingling, quite revealing listen. Moving forward, the band will be out on the Dancing in The Dark Tour come April of 2024 in Europe. Showing no signs of slowing down and proving there is a very bright future for them, Cryptic Rock gives the band’s impressive 2023 self-titled album 4 out of 5 stars.