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Dark Sarah - Grim Award winner

Dark Sarah
by Kevin Lewis at 22 September 2020, 11:33 AM

DARK SARAH is a Finnish band formed in 2012. Their website lists them as Cinematic Metal, and I have to agree. Heavy on the visuals in the promotional pictures, this is a band the cares as much about their aesthetic as their music. “Grim” is their fourth full length release and is a massive effort. The disc was released on July 17, 2020 through Napalm Records.

Starting the album off is the intro song “My Name Is Luna” the character Heidi plays on the album. There is an ambient feel to the song. It is a true intro song, setting the stage for the rest of the record adeptly. The song introduces Luna and hints at the potential vocal power to be used later on. “The Chosen One” starts with an intro that kind of draws you in, makes you wonder what’s next. Then the guitar riff hits you in the mouth. The verses have a lighter rhythm, but the chorus kicks.

“Illuminate” starts off showing the power of the band. Before easing up for the first verse, there is a nice, rough guitar intro. “Melancholia” has the drums highlighted up front under the guitars. This is a good usage of adding in instruments to beef up the overall sound of the song. These are big songs, very much like a movie score/soundtrack. They set a mood and provide feeling. For instance, “La Folie Verte” (The Green Madness) has a prominent, sometimes exaggerated bass line with a huge keyboard sound mixed in.

“All Ears!” and “The Devil’s Peak” both are melodic songs that want to influence your mood. All the songs on this album set a tone and bring the listener in to hear a story. Start to finish, this record is aligned to the theme. It takes skill to write and perform music like this. This is close to 53 minutes of music that tell a tale, not a three-minute song with a quick hook and a line to be repeated by the fans screaming in the front row. This is show, an experience, not a simple concert.

Much like their Finnish brethren, NIGHTWISH, they have a very cinematic feel to the music. Heidi sound more like the original NIGHTWISH vocalist, Tarja Turunen, not Floor Jansen. However, DARK SARAH has their own preferred sound. With much less keyboard and little “orchestration”, DARK SARAH relies on two guitars to fill up the song and set the tone. They do so well. They are not a copycat band riding someone else’s coattails, they set their own standard and walk their own path. Overall a very good album.

Songwriting:  9
Musicianship:  9
Memorability:  8
Production:  8

4 Star Rating

1. My Name Is Luna
2. The Chosen One
3. Illuminate
4. Melancholia
5. Iceheart
6. La Folie Verte
7. The Wolf and the Maiden
8. The Hex
9. All Ears!
10. The Devil's Peak
11. Mörk
12. The Dark Throne
Heidi Parviainen – Vocals
Rude Rothstén – Bass
Thomas Tunkkari – Drums
Sami Salonen – Guitar
Erkka Korhonen – Guitar
Record Label: Napalm Records


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