My prayers were answered!
I speculated not long ago that symphonic metal was dying; some new bands and/or recent records lacked the depth that had been set by the forerunners of the genre. Although maybe I just wasn’t looking hard enough. Allow me to elaborate. I came across “For All Beyond” by Metalwings and was immediately hooked.
What I like immediately is that the opener “End of the War” is a proper song in its own right, which properly sets the tone for the record. It sets a really vivid and strong tone as well. It leads nicely into “Secret Town” which gets the ball rolling after the scene has been set. The listener will come to realise that there is a quality depth in the sound. There is plenty of melody and drama right out of the box.
Naturally, there are lots of synth melodies in play but the guitars and bass are executed well. I really like when bass isn’t abused and it is integral to the dictation of the sound. The listener will also come across and may deeply appreciate the themes of emotions and feelings, and that they’re not afraid to change the tempo and feel, they expertly split the grand climatic finale in “Immortal Metal Wings” then contrast that with the much slower and softer “When We Pray”.
The whole record comes in at virtually bang on an hour but there’s no feeling of any ‘filling’, particularly as I was enjoying it and what the songs are trying to convey, even now on the nth pass. The vocals are pleasant and definitely suit the themes. Stela stands out particularly to me in the title track with an impressive display of power. “Fallen Angel in the Hell” and an accompanying instrumental is a perfect way to end, encompassing the power and emotion. There’s even a nice guitar solo in it too.
Overall, it’s definitely a winner. I’ve happily been proven wrong and I have a lot of free time to enjoy this album even more. Symphonic metal fans will definitely enjoy it and I think the themes will also attract a lot more listeners.