Review: The Dark Side Of The Moon – ‘Metamorphosis’

With the Richie Faulkner/Ronnie Romero/Rex Brown/Scott Travis supergroup Elegant Weapons set to deliver their debut album ‘Horns For A Halo’ on May 26th, the next few weeks are bubbling over with easy-on-the-eye (and ears) collaborative projects. Two weeks prior to the debut of the Judas Priest-Rainbow-Pantera mash-up however comes the debut album from an intriguing project that started life as a bet between two of the band members.

Ad Infinitum vocalist Melissa Bonny (currently on the road as touring vocalist with Kamelot), and Feuerschwanz guitarist Hans Platz had a bet, and whoever lost owed the other a “dare”. Hans won and challenged Melissa to record a metal version of ‘Jenny Of Oldstones’ from the Game of Thrones soundtrack, and the end result was a stunning piece of music that proved to be a much-needed palate cleanser after the disastrous climax to the hit HBO TV show. Joining Bonny and Platz in their journey are Platz’s Feuerschwanz bandmate Jenny Diehl on harp and hella-impressive windmilling, and from Amaranthe (and also Melissa’s fiancé); the powerhouse drummer Morten Løwe Sørensen. Together, the quartet became The Dark Side Of The Moon, and the imminent debut album from the band, ‘Metamorphosis’, is a total blast. Not an unexpected blast though, purely because anything with Melissa Bonny’s name attached to it is always red-hot, and Feuerschwanz are a band that have really ramped up the quality of their output since signing with Napalm Records – the same label that The Dark Side Of The Moon are signed to.

The vast majority of ‘Metamorphosis’ is made up of reimagined songs made famous by movies, TV shows, and video games. But fear not though for there are no quizzes here and it matters not a jot if you don’t know your Targaryens from your Lannisters, and cannot name any of the houses in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. For it is the music found within ‘Metamorphosis’ that matters; and what sweet music it is.

The one that started it all; ‘Jenny Of Oldstones’ is a gorgeous lead-in to the magical world of TDSOTM and a perfect showcase of the talents of Melissa Bonny for anyone unfamiliar with her. And regardless of whether or not you recognise ‘Double Trouble and ‘Lumos! (Hedwig’s Theme)’ from the Harry Potter movies, you will love what The Dark Side Of The Moon have conjured up with their own mash-up – ‘Double Trouble/Lumos! (Hedwig’s Theme)’. With the evocative violin work from guest musician Rusanda Panfili at the heart of the song, the end result is a stunning few minutes complete with waltz-like guitar tones from Platz, nailed-on cymbal work from Sørensen, Diehl’s gorgeous harp-picking, and what else can be said about Bonny’s towering range of vocals that has not already been said in numerous publications over the last few years – nothing, really. The rising star in metal today, mezzo-soprano Bonny is in untouchable territory as she alternates between crystal clear vocals front and centre and low guttural harsh growls in the background. But the real star here is the song. A wonderful arrangement of a John Williams classic with so many layers that multiple listens are required before every facet becomes clear. The string duet mid-song between Diehl and Panfili is simply beautiful and when Platz joins in with a stunning guitar solo – the song really takes off.

Originally recorded by Against The Current, ‘Legends Never Die’ is lifted from the soundtrack to the online multiplayer game Legends Never Die, and in the hands of Bonny, Platz et al, it packs more of a punch from the Chrissy Costanza-led original. The guitars are more at the forefront and with its soaring vocal hooks, and gentle sway here and there, it is the perfect way to open the album. ‘Misty Mountains’ from The Hobbit trilogy features the unmistakeable vocal tones of Evergrey’s Tom S. Englund (why is this guy not more of a household name?) and would it be too much to hope for a live version of this gem? More guests appear throughout the album; with Fabienne Erni from Eluveitie and Illumishade joining in the fun on ‘New Horizons’ (such a fantastic and uplifting song with a totally killer solo from Platz), and Dutch solo artist Charlotte Wessels lends her immeasurable vocal talents to a romp through Enya’s Academy-award nominated ‘May It Be’.

It’s not just covers featured on ‘Metamorphosis’ though; the first-ever original song from The Dark Side Of The Moon lands in the guise of the barnstorming ‘The Gates of Time’ and fans of Bonny’s day job in Ad Infinitum will lap this one up. Played at a galloping pace, it highlights the talents of each individual band member, as well as their ability to bring together four individuals from other bands and make them one cohesive unit. Love, love, love Hans Platz’s guitar playing on this one, Sørensen proves yet again why when it comes to new blood in metal drumming he is a silent but deadly ninja (never flash, but you know he is there), and final word to Jenny Diehl who owns the outro with her gorgeous harp picking.

The Dark Side Of The Moon make their live debut on May 11th in Bremen alongside Napalm Records labelmates Feuerschwanz and Warkings, these songs will sound massive in a live setting and one can only hope that this album is not just a one-off. These guys have more to say than one album.

Available May 12th via Napalm Records

Review – Dave

w/ Feuerschwanz, Warkings
11.05.23 DE – Bremen / Aladin**
12.05.23 DE – Hanover / Capitol** – SOLD OUT!
13.05.23 DE – Cologne / Carlswerk** – SOLD OUT!
14.05.23 DE – Oberhausen / Turbinenhalle** – ADDITIONAL SHOW!


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