Aug 112016
 

AFOI Far Beyond (Germany) is a solo project from Eugen Dodenhoeft. He has released ‘The Bleeding Rose’ (2003 Demo), ‘An Angel’s Requiem’ (2005) and ‘Songs of Hope and Sorrow’ (2009). Another of his projects is Euphoreon where he collaborated with Matt Summerville (New Zealand) and released a self-titled album in 2011. The latest Far Beyond album sees Eugen enlist some guest musicians for ‘A Frozen Flame Of Ice’ (Sept 2016).

Whilst the earlier releases were described as melodic death metal, there has been a move towards gothic, progressive and dark symphonic metal due to the mix of vocal styles. Also the melancholic nature of the lyrics leads it down another path too.

There is an atmospheric opening with swirling keyboards, which is swiftly rent asunder by swarthy guitar riffs and growled vocals on ‘Evernight – Part I’. It also has half-growled excerpts, but mainly stands out with clean vocals. “Through the midst of the darkest storm / I fear this is the end of the world / Through the void of inner fire / There are fragments of myself / Watch over me and lend me strength / Through the voice of my dreams”. This is a sweeping, epic track with a fast tempo that pulls back for a melodic middle section. Then it starts to build up again and lets rip with a shredding guitar solo and half-growls. It ebbs and flows with a symphonic metal sweep.

Not to be confused with Led Zeppelin, ‘The Song Remains The Same’ has a distinctly progressive metal stance. However, the inclusion of a few harsh growls detracts from the proceedings. Otherwise it has strong clean vocals throughout as the lyrics take on a Dioesque landscape. “My family’s fate lies in darkness / Destiny can’t be changed / We’re heading down a dangerous road / This is where it all began / Blood deal with the yellow-eyed one / Demon blood is pumping through my veins”.

The tempo increases and reaches breakneck speed for ‘A Frozen Flame Of Ice’. The latter part sees an excellent section with several minutes of technical guitar solos. Here is a song truly benefiting from growled vocals and is befitting of being the title track. “Rise beyond the horizon / Feeling of defiance / Drown in your ignorance / ARISE”

The mood initially slows for ‘The Last Farewell’ before thrusting forth. It sets the scene of visiting a graveyard in the middle of the night. “And I’m fading in the moonlight / From the ashes, grief / A mourn so dark”. There is excellent use of vocal harmonies too.

It’s back to a fast gallop in ‘Unrelenting Force’ with its tale of dragons and ancient prophesies. Having just watched The Hobbit films, it brings to mind the Desolation of Smaug as well as referencing Alduin’s Bane (The Elder Scrolls V).

There is time for reflection in ‘Evernight – Part II’ which starts with acoustic guitar before the metal guitar overtakes it. It builds to several crescendos and also pulls it back down for melodic sections. “And now they sing / That I died in my dreams / Now I’m at home”.

Eugen is extremely proficient at his guitar work and instrumentation, with the guest guitar parts from Tommi Halme adding the final flourish.

Reviewed by Peter John Willoughby

Rating: 7.5/10

Tracks:
1. Evernight – Part I
2. The Song Remains The Same
3. A Frozen Flame Of Ice
4. Last Farewell
5. Unrelenting Force
6. Evernight – Part II

Band members:
Eugen Dodenhoeft – All instruments, Vocals, Drum programming

Tommi Halme – guest guitar solos (Times)
Patrick Stäudle – guest backing vocals (Euphoreon, Storm Seeker)
Stephan Ahrendt – guest backing vocals

Albums Far Beyond:
2003 The Bleeding Rose (Demo)
2005 An Angel’s Requiem
2009 Songs of Hope and Sorrow (EP)
2016 A Frozen Flame Of Ice

Euphoreon
2011 Euphoreon [review]

Weblinks: Facebook / Website / Bandcamp

Record Label: Independent, Sept. 2016

Buy the album here:
Holland: First Paradox
Norway: Nordic Mission

 

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