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Saris: Beyond The Rainbow

Album number four from German melodic, progressive metal outfit Saris sees them fly Beyond The Rainbow. Like the band’s previous work there’s a serious liking for all things dream and theater about this latest offering but then, who can argue with hooks, melodies, technical flash and some great vocals? Not me anyway and not Saris, because it would appear to be this band’s stock in trade. Opening number “Avalon”, which quickly gives way to the “Time Machine”, highlights the stunning guitar work from Derek Akkermann and it has to be said that the man’s keyboard contributions are equally as impressive, especially presented with the bright and bold sound that they are here. Add in some huge banked vocals from both the band’s two lead singers - Henrik Wager and Anja Gunther - and no less than six guest backing vocalists and there’s no doubt that it’s a hugely engaging mix that reminds of Arena, John Payne are Asia and, of course, Dream Theater.

The title track is arguably the album’s centre point, running at over eleven minutes and being a mighty fine example of the clash of progressive metal and AOR that Saris present. An attack that allows them to sound both familiar and yet distinct as they pull no punches in revealing their influences. Admittedly here, Wager may well be just a little too Labrie based for his own good, but the guy can sing and there’s no denying that he nails the approach he’s going for. With Anja’s cultured tones a clever counterpoint and some quite astounding choral-vocal stabs that remind of the sort of thing that became a highlight of the Star Wars prequel scores, the arrangements are also top drawer.

That too is a feature elsewhere, with the likes of “Orphan” a melodically classical journey that slides from AOR smoothness to the drama and scope of strings and brass with consummate ease. With grand ideas handled with skill and a lightness of touch, “Strange Melody” shows the ability to avoid turning a multi-vocal layered ballad into a schmaltzy moment, instead welding a biting riff onto a plaintive keyboard motif to great effect.

There’s no doubting that it’s easy to point out exactly where Saris are coming from and where they’ve sourced their ideas. And yet, through the confidence to build on that basis with some ambitious and well realised individualities, the results on Beyond The Rainbow are not just hugely rewarding, but also massively uplifting. More importantly, it has also seen this band record an album that thrives through repeat listens as it dazzles with some great musicianship and clever production/mixing choices. It’s also sure to be a staple in my listening rotation and ultimately, that’s the part that really matters.

Track Listing
1. Avalon
2. Time Machine
3. Oblivion
4. Beyond The Rainbow
5. Orphan
6. Strange Melody
7. New World
8. Heaven's Gate
9. Away From You
10. Infinity

Added: November 2nd 2020
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Saris on bandcamp
Hits: 165
Language: english

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