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Beyond Forgiveness - Live To Tell The Story

Beyond Forgiveness
Live To Tell The Story
by Gary Hernandez at 24 October 2019, 3:46 PM

“Live To Tell The Story” is the second full-length album from the Colorado-based Symphonic Metal band, BEYOND FORGIVENESS. Talia Hoit fronts the band as soprano vocalist and guitarists Richard Marcus and Greg Witwer both provide guttural backing vocals. Guest vocalist Dakota Brown, an operatic baritone, appears on two tracks, “Reverie” and “Echoes.” Thematically, the album centers on fantasy narratives dramatized with love and pathos. The narratives are presented against backdrop of swift metal riffs and flowering symphonic orchestrations—essentially, your typical Symph metal album.

The album comes in right at 55 minutes and has ten tracks. The downside is the three musical elements of this album—the vocals, the metal, the symphonic—all operate quite well on their own, but when fused together they never really mesh up. It’s as if they were created separately in a vacuum and then brought together as an afterthought as opposed to being created holistically. What’s lacking is a sense of organic coherence.

BEYOND FORGIVENESS is at their best when at least one of the three elements I mentioned fall away. For instance, “Forever Dream,” which features only synthesizers and vocals comes across well. Similarly, “Leaves of Lothlorian” works just fine with guitars and light symphonic elements, but begins to unravel when all the vocals, primary and backing, begin to pile on. Sadly, even the guitar solo, which is actually riveting, loses traction as it tries to compete with a flourishing piano. I should also note that the lead guitar solo on “Reverie” is exceptional before it also gets cut off at the knees. Altogether, there’s just too much pulling in too many directions. “Echoes” is probably the single track that best integrates all three components. I’m guessing there’s a reason this is the lead track and that it’s also supported by a video.

In the category of “just doesn’t work at all,” I have to cite the spoken word episode that appears in “If I Fall.” If I could have one super hero power it would be the ability to eradicate spoken word from all heavy metal songs. Also in the “doesn’t work” category is the alternating vocals from clean soprano female to guttural baritone male. I’d say stick with one or the other. The oscillation only adds another level of conflict the album can do without.

All in all, “Live To Tell The Story” is too ambitious. The band is trying to do too much and they just keep getting in their own way.

Songwriting: 4
Originality: 5
Memorability:  4
Production: 4

2 Star Rating

1. Echoes
2. Live To Tell The Story
3. If I Fall
4. One Last Time
5. Reverie
6. Leaves of Lothlorien
7. Labyrinth
8. When Rivers Turn Red
9. Consolation
10. Forever Dream
Richard Marcus – Guitars, vocals (backing)
Greg Witwer – Guitars, vocals (backing)
Talia Hoit – Vocals
Sean Rogers – Drums, percussion
Jim Lasselle – Bass
Record Label: Sliptrick Records


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