In the world of Symphonic Metal there are many, but how do they actually leave a lasting impression? Not a knock on the abundant crop of acts within the genre, but there are of them which blend into one another. Perhaps a result of oversaturation, there are still some who are distinctive to the others. Among those would be the Dutch band Blackbriar.
Not at all new to the scene, they first formed back in 2012, on their way to release their debut song “Ready to Kill.” A song that garnered its share of attention, the band would continue along with several EPs releases before their debut full-length album The Cause of the Shipwreck came out in 2021. All releases that showed signs of a band progressing, in 2022 they signed on with Nuclear Blast Records… a big move to draw the attention of a larger audience. Now on the long time Metal label, Blackbriar release their new album A Dark Euphony.
Released on September 29, 2023, A Dark Euphony’s lead-in was with 2022’s “Crimson Faces,” before one of their best tracks to date, “My Soul’s Demise” emerged in April of this year. From here “Cicada” followed before each song was combined together for a mid-September EP, paving the way for the full-length album. These tidbits floating around the ears of listeners, A Dark Euphony saves the best for last so to speak.
Consisting of 11 songs in total, the album is full of richly textures tunes that are a step ahead. Now, for those who do not know, the band – Zora Cock (vocals), René Boxem (drums), Bart Winters (guitars) , and Ruben Wijga (keyboards), and newest mate Siebe Sol Sijpkens (bass) – are quite intent on creating a fairytale like atmosphere with their songs. That in mind, Zora Cock’s approach to singing is unique to others; especially with the way she projects her voice in an enchanting type fashion. Instead of overpowering you, she seduces you with melodies that are impossible to get out of your head and dynamics that are ear-catching.
With these attributes in mind, each song that makes up A Dark Euphony plays out like a classic tale read from a storybook. This includes the majestic sound of tracks such as “Far Distant Land,” “Spirit of Forgetfulness,” and “Thumbelina.” However, some of the most beautiful moments come with the must listen to “Bloody Footprints in the Snow,” the aforementioned single “My Soul’s Demise,” plus “We Make Mist.”
These selections alone make A Dark Euphony worth your time. However, the remainder of the material on the album is also quite good and shows that there is still something to be had within the Symphonic Metal world. This is all thanks to Blackbriar’s non-conforming presentation of their songs, matched with lovely hints of Gothic Metal that make for dark, deep romancing vibes. Overall, Blackbriar are making tremendous strides forward and A Dark Euphony should attract their largest audience to date. That is why Cryptic Rock gives this album 4 out of 5 stars.