Dark Sarah returns with another symphonic/cinematic metal horror fantasy concept album filled with lush orchestral arrangements supported by a metal backing that highlight the beauty of Heidi Parviainen’s vocals.
As is quickly obvious, even to those unfamiliar with Amberian Dawn, Heidi is a classically trained singer with a phenomenal voice and the genre cinematic metal is one that could almost have been created for her. After parting with Amberian Dawn in 2012, Heidi started her solo career and Dark Sarah became the name of the project. In the first of the concept albums, Dark Sarah describes the journey of a young woman left at the altar who goes the edge of a breakdown only to have something inside her wake up and she changes into a darker reflection of herself, Dark Sarah. The album Behind the Black Veil takes you inside the mind of Sarah as she struggles with her two personalities. The album itself was crowdfunded in three parts, and several videos have been produced and released. Following the release of that album, Dark Sarah went on to release The Puzzle in 2016, which continued the story of Dark Sarah from Behind the Black Veil and then in 2018 The Golden Moth, the third part of the Dark Sarah saga was released. In Grim, Dark Sarah as band begins a new story with new characters again in a concept albums setting. This time we hear the story of Luna, who has to journey through a mythical world facing dangers along the way.
Fittingly, the album starts with “My Name is Luna” which introduces us to the hero character in the story. The song starts out with some atmospheric keyboards and sound effects of wolves howling before Heidi’s vocals come in smooth and quietly building in a style not unlike 80s pop songs and that continues into “The Chosen One” until the metal riffs start. Instantly the drums and guitars make their presence felt and while the verses are somewhat quiet and restrained, Thomas Tunkkari’s drums punctuate the silence and carry the song until the guitars come in for the chorus sections where Heidi’s vocals switch to operatic showcasing her vocal range and ability to shift styles completely. Production quality and mixing is understandably great once again, highlighting Heidi’s vocals while not losing the power metal feel in the songs when present. Obviously keyboards do play a large role in the overall sound, but the strength of the drums keeps the metal firmly in the mix until the guitars can come in to emphasize that.