Most of my Facebook feed is connected with music in one way or another, and one day I came across some posts featuring Liz Tapia talking about her band Dark Beauty, and I quickly became intrigued by what I was reading so got in touch. This is the first of a planned concept trilogy telling the story of the character of The Dark Angel, her fall from grace and hopeful redemption, portrayed by Liz. She is a classically trained mezzo soprano, and the rest of the band on this album was Bryan Zeigler (lead guitar), Warren Helms (piano, keyboards), Gary Perkinson (bass) and Dan Granda (drums). They recently played with Potter’s Daughter and Stratopheerius, and that must have been one heck of a musical experience with Liz and Dyanne both being incredible singers, yet their musical approach is quite different. Although they both come from classical backgrounds, and indeed both do bring that into their music, Dark Beauty are more symphonic and metallic in their approach, although there is also room for prog, world music (especially with the percussion, and is that a sitar I hear?), gothic styles and so much more.
There is the impression that this band has been built as a vehicle for Liz to display her wares, but this is far more than just a singer and a backing group, as the melodies and accompaniments swell . The band I keep finding myself thinking of, although they don’t sound at all similar, are Legend and what they were doing 30 years ago. There Legend were taking the styles of Steeleye Span and moving into a symphonic progressive environment with huge dynamics behind a classically trained singer, and while they never gained the kudos they deserved, they influenced a great many bands (including supposedly Nightwish). Here we have a band providing whatever musical support is required to allow the songs to move in multiple directions, with one never knowing where it is going to go, so if Liz wants to sing in a classical Indian style why not? Yet behind the tablas and sitars there is a menacing electric guitar to show they are not going to go too far in that direction.
This is a band certainly worthy of further investigation by any proghead who is also into symphonic metal which is truly trying to do something different.
8/10 Kev Rowland