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Far Beyond - The End Of My Road review

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Band: Far Beyond
Album: The End Of My Road
Style: Melodic black metal
Release date: February 2024

01. Midwinter
02. A Symphony Of Light
03. Ad Infinitas
04. Tempus Fugit
05. A Wish Upon A Star
06. From The Stars And The Crescent Moon
07. The End Of My Road

Very much a project that prioritizes quality over quantity, Far Beyond is old enough to drink in the US, but is only now releasing album number 3. Fans will hope that The End Of My Road doesn’t represent the end of Far Beyond’s journey, but it’s a release that will amply reward those that have waited so long.

Far Beyond is the solo project of Eugen Dodenhoeft, who may be more renowned for his long-term involvement with Euphoreon. Prior to their hiatus since 2018, the latter act made waves in the 2010s for being one of the few exciting new names in extreme power metal, and Far Beyond occupy similar musical territory; however, The End Of My Road spills over more into melodeath, folk metal and symphonic metal. This is the first release from Far Beyond in 8 years, and is as polished as a record with that amount of time to work on it should be.

While it’s not a genre overlap that has been done to death by any means, there are forebears when it comes to symphonic folk/power/melodeath, including the likes of Wintersun, Brymir and more recently Vanaheim. Yet, while the sound on The End Of My Road is similar enough to any of these acts to appeal to their fanbases, it’s also not so similar as to merit heavy comparison to any one band in particular. Outside of the expected moments of bombast, there’s also sequences with a bit more of a subdued atmosphere. Additionally, starting with “Tempus Fugit”, the orchestrations and choirs are accompanied (or, at times, replaced) by bouncy celestial electronic tones reminiscent of those used by acts such as Neurotech and Mesarthim.

Nevertheless, the heavy folksy melodicism, the screamed/clean vocal combo, the rampant power metal riffs and melodeath hooks are all very familiar to fans of Euphoreon or other groups in the aforementioned niches, and all these elements are very well executed here. Aside from a few short intro/interlude pieces (including the lush orchestral opener “Midwinter”), the ‘main’ songs here are all lengthy and explorative, each clocking in at over 8 minutes, and Dodenhoeft has the art of turning a song into a journey very much mastered.

The first of these four songs to appear in the album’s tracklist, “A Symphony Of Light”, may be the pick of the bunch. It initially leans into the symphonics and power metal, with stirring orchestrals, emphatic choirs and rapid chugs, and subsequently rousing clean singing (albeit in a lower register than many power metal vocalists) in the chorus. After a relentlessly energetic opening few minutes, Far Beyond subsequently dabbles with occasional mellower mid-song interludes, but also exciting guitar solos. Still, the bulk of the song’s runtime is at high intensity, which makes the symphonic-only outro a pleasant change of pace, as it reprises the track’s main motifs.

As mentioned earlier, “Tempus Fugit” opens by introducing those bouncy electronics into the album’s mix. To be frank, I’m not overly keen on their presence here; particularly when paired with some more mid-tempo heavy chugging, it takes my mind too closely to some Neurotech material, and it doesn’t necessarily show off Far Beyond at their most interesting. However, they’re more successfully integrated into the following songs, plus there are other features of “Tempus Fugit” that contribute more positively, including some exciting tremolo riffs, as well as a lush exploration of more mellow sounds in its second half.

If there’s anything that’s perhaps holding this record back a bit, I do find that the sounds of all the songs somewhat blend together; obviously, there’s going to be overlap considering it’s the same person writing and performing instruments and vocals, but some of the melodies, particularly of the vocals, perhaps resemble one another a bit too closely to allow each of them to truly stand out. “From The Stars And The Crescent Moon” does quite well on this front with some of the vocal passages in its closing minutes, and the title track changes pace in the first half by slowing down and emphasizing softer sounds in the mix. Still, The End Of My Road is an album that you will enjoy from the outset or not at all.

That’s not necessarily such a downside, though; unlike a lot of metal styles, there’s not an overload of high-profile releases in this vein, so when such albums do come along, it can be nice to feast on the rich mixture of melody, speed and bombast.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 5
Production: 8

Written on 19.02.2024 by Hey chief let's talk why not


Comments: 1   Visited by: 9 users
10.03.2024 - 15:36
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Goid review, like that album, band, well once iconic band from Oulu or Muhos (now I know where I will do road trip in the summer ) put last album whit song "end of the road" before split up and rip Miika, this well i hope not but well hope not.
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