Dark Sarah shares the next chapter of their story with us on their fifth album, “Attack Of Orym”. Vocalist and songwriter Heidi Parviainen continues the story of the new protagonist, Luna, which started on the previous album, “Grim”, and also continues to explore different vocal and musical styles with this album, rather than a classical singing style as she had done on the first trilogy of albums. This album also sees a lineup change, as the first following the departure of guitarist Erkka Korhonen (of Raskasta Joulua fame), as well as the addition of keyboardist Henrik Airaksinen to the band.
The album begins with “Choose Your Weapons”, a short cinematic intro reminiscent of those on past Dark Sarah albums. It’s a nice jumping-off point that draws the listener into the world of the story. One thing that is immediately apparent is that this album has a more upbeat, fast-paced style compared to the previous albums, which is befitting of the theme of battle and war, and fighting for life. The keyboards also add a touch of classic 80s sound, which makes the music quite fun.
Dark Sarah is known for bringing in guest musicians, and this time is no exception. “Attack Of Orym” features three guests. The first guest is Epica guitarist Mark Jansen, lending his vocals to the role of Orym on the title song. His signature growls bring a nice contrast to Parviainen’s bright soprano.
With the tracks “Invincible” and “B.U.R.N.”, the story’s focus shifts briefly from external conflict to internal as Luna battles the influence of the Malevolent Orb on her mind.
With “Invincible”, we are also treated to the first appearance of the second guest: Kasperi Heikkinen, guitarist for Beast In Black and also Parviainen’s former Amberian Dawn bandmate. His guitar prowess adds a nice extra kick to the already-energetic song.
The following song, “B.U.R.N.”, is a good example of how Parviainen writes her lyrics in a way that allows the listener to interpret them both in the context of the story and in a way that fit with them personally; this one in particular feels like a good metaphor for struggles we face and the desire to change and rise from the ashes.
The album continues the non-stop ride from there. The drums, guitar, keyboard, and bass all work in perfect sync, driving the songs forward. Heikkinen appears one more time on the track “Delirium”, with his guitar again adding some extra energy to the rest of the instruments in support of the lyrics and the vocals.
Nearing the end of the album, we reach “Piece Of My Heart” featuring the third guest, JP Leppäluoto, reprising the role of the Dragon once more. While Jansen’s vocals offer the contrast to those of Parviainen, Leppäluoto provides the compliment. Their combined vocals and chemistry have captivated fans since their first collaboration, and although Leppäluoto doesn’t have as big of a part in this particular song, the voices of the two talented singers nevertheless blend together seamlessly and effortlessly.
The album comes to a close with “Hero And A Villian”, wherein Parviainen sings of introspection, human duality, and accepting one’s past; mistakes shape us just as much as the good experiences, and we need both in order to grow and change. The song is a fitting end to the album, and this newest chapter of the Dark Sarah story.
“Attack Of Orym”, while a bit different in musical style compared to the rest of Dark Sarah‘s discography, is a fast-paced, energetic adventure, showing the band’s drive to keep evolving and making it clear that they won’t be slowing down anytime soon.