DARK SARAH – Attack Of Orym (2023)
“Attack Of Orym” is the new album from Finnish symphonic metal band DARK SARAH, the band around former AMBERIAN DAWN singer Heidi Parviainen. Musically the group explores more different styles than you typical sympho, sometimes joyful, sometimes dark, always interesting.
You’ll find tha classic modern sympho / progressive waves, but also pumpy melodic metal rhythms similar to later Battle Beast or Beast in Black albums, while other times there’s even somewhat of a pop sound, with a few tracks being particularly light and catchy.
Performances are strong across the board with the musicians all doing a great job. New band member Henrik Airaksinen in particular stands out, with his keyboards often being the main ingredient that pushes the music sometimes going for a more classical, symphonic-influenced sound, while other times going for a more retro looking for catchiness.
There’s certainly a lot going on with the keys on this album, and everything is done very well.
Of course, the most important element of all is Heidi Parviainen’s vocals, which are as excellent as always. Her classical training still shines through on some tracks, but overall her vocal delivery is a lot lighter, more regular ‘rock singer’ which works quite well and fits the tracks perfectly. Sound production is also fantastic, with everything sounding clear and powerful, and nothing gets lost in the mix.
”Attack of Orym” is a concept album, however all songs can be enjoyed standalone and you don’t need to pay much attention to the story, but on a track-by-track basis, the lyrics can be pretty entertaining at points. Moving on to songwriting, this is another area where the album is quite good, with quite a bit of variety to the tracks.
Following a brief intro, the opening title track is a big standout, with a darker, heavier, and more cinematic sound compared to the rest of the album. It’s easily the most symphonic number, with a few light electronics in the background, but the orchestras and heavy guitars are the driving force on this one, along with obviously the vocals. It’s a slow-paced, heavy track with pounding riffs throughout the verses, while the chorus is still heavy, but a bit lighter and more melodic, with some huge vocal melodies.
Next is “Invincible”, a more upbeat track, a modern melodic metal tune. The keys / electronics are on full display here, with the verses having a nice beat to them, while the chorus is fast-paced, catchy, and melodic, with slight traces of heaviness. The track on the whole very much feels like a Beast in Black song, which isn’t surprising, because it’s one of two tracks featuring a guest appearance from their guitarist Kasperi Heikkinen, who delivers an excellent solo in the second half.
The pace drops off slightly on “B.U.R.N”, another track with a heavy focus on synths elements, though it’s a bit more laid back overall, with slight bursts of heaviness on and off. It moves at a fairly relaxed pace during the verses, picking up slightly for the chorus, which has a very nice rhythm to it and is one of the highlights of the album.
“Warning Sign” is another rocking track, it has a very fast and fun chorus, to go along with verses that are a bit more subdued, but still pretty epic, with the electronic elements adding a nice rhythm to go along with some heavy guitars and cinematic symphonic touches.
Things slow down for a bit starting with “Goth Disco”, one of the more pop-infused tracks. The keyboards have a darker tone to them, though in a more playful sort of way, almost like the kind of music you’d hear around Halloween time, though the music has a nice beat to it, just like the “Disco” part of its name would imply.
“Delirium” is the most commercial track here with the chorus, in particular, being very light and catchy, in a pop sort of way. It all works out well, though, with the guitars giving it just enough an edge to still work as a metal, while the vocals are of course fantastic as usual. It’s also the second track to feature Kasperi Heikkinen, who delivers another excellent guitar solo. Overall, it’s one of my favorites on the album.
Two more heavy tracks are next, the first of which is “Piece of My Heart”, another faster-paced melodic metal track, where the keyboards play a big part in the music, while the guitars are heavier than before, and it’s a very fun track overall featuring guest vocals from longtime Dark Sarah collaborator JP Leppäluoto, who delivers some nice backing vocals.
The other is “Breaking Free” driven by heavy riffs during a slower section, before speeding up nicely during the verses, and then really picking up during the chorus which has some huge, uplifting vocal melodies, and is another favorite.
Closing out is “Hero and a Villain”, the lightest track on the album. There’s very little metal present here, but I also wouldn’t say it’s a ballad. Instead, it’s more of an electronic pop track, with a slightly upbeat feel to it. It’s a very light and catchy track, with a nice chorus.
Fans of current symphonic metal are sure to find enjoyment in this album, while anyone looking for some great modern melodic metal with a few twists, would also be highly recommended to give “Attack Of Orym” a listen.
01 – Intro- Choose Your Weapons
02 – Attack Of Orym
03 – Invincible
04 – B.U.R.N
05 – Warning Sign
06 – Goth Disco
07 – Delerium
08 – Piece Of My Heart
09 – Breaking Free
10 – Hero And A Villain
Heidi Parviainen – Vocals
Sami-Petri Salonen – Guitars
Henrik Airaksinen – Keyboards
Rude Rothsten – Bass
Thomas Tunkkari – Drums