Beyond Forgiveness began as a cathartic gothic symphonic guilty pleasure of death metal guitarist, Richard Marcus. The project drew a community of musicians performing in other genres, each infusing elements of death, black, thrash, progressive, and folk metal into the classically orchestrated and lyrically metaphorical music of the band. The cinematic songwriting is marked by tension between the different musical influences in tandem with the contrasting beauty and beast vocals of classical soprano, Talia Hoit, and the death and black metal vocals of Richard Marcus and Greg Witwer.
The debut EP, The Ferryman’s Shore, was ushered into the symphonic metal scene with rave reviews from Sonic Cathedral, comparing Beyond Forgiveness to the early music of Tristania and Within Temptation, and predicting that Beyond Forgiveness is “a name that will be one to look out for” in the U.S. Symphonic Metal Scene. The Black Phoenix Rising Metal Blog also foreshadowed that the foundation of the EP “should make [the band] become a major player in this genre.” The release was supported enthusiastically by internet radio stations across the globe. The international interest in the band sent them on the road to perform in Germany, Switzerland, and Belgium on their first European tour.
Sonic Cathedral’s list of the Best Releases of 2017 included, alongside albums by Exit Eden, The Dark Element and Nightwish, the next full length release by Beyond Forgiveness, The Great Wall. For this album, the band worked again with the same Czech audio engineer as their EP, Jarek Musil, who had masterfully interwoven the full nuance of the band’s complex symphonic sound. One of the album’s tracks, Never Before, was fully produced by Jarek in his studio in Brno during the band’s European tour. The track debuted stateside by mainstream rock radio station Kilo 94.3 on their Loud and Local show, proving that the band could hold its own even beyond the boundaries of the symphonic metal genre.
According to Black Phoenix Rising’s Review of The Great Wall, the music is a “great story, told and delivered with grandeur,” and “a vibrant symphonic story and journey for you to take.” The contraposition of opposites began to define their signature sound, nicknamed “beautality” - blending light and shade, gentleness with a dark edge, which the forum described as “a mighty tug of war,” and “intriguing.”
It may be surprising that soprano Talia Hoit was first a classical pianist and accompanist since the age of 5, and also performed as a hard rock keyboardist before discovering a passion for lyric writing and singing, studying classical voice and ultimately taking the helm of the band as lead vocalist. However, the symphonic foundation of the band’s music owes much of its sophistication to her lifetime of work at the piano.
The lyrics delve into the deepest realm of human emotion and experience, drawing upon stories to reach into the most guarded of emotions. Death, fear, love, sorrow, adventure and passion fill the pages of Beyond Forgiveness’s albums. The words flow out of the wellspring of the artists’ personal feelings and experiences and draw heavily on myth, history, and culture as metaphors to envelop the audience within the experience. The Powerthorn Webzine perfectly sums up the lyrical goals of the band: “you can feel all of the pain, beauty, aggression, mourning, and longing in the music without much effort.”
Joining the ranks of Sliptrick Records for the band’s 2019 release, Live to Tell the Story, Beyond Forgiveness again expanded the boundaries of their epic, cinematic sound. The album showcased a symphonic score for full orchestra, and brought more aggressive and heavy guitar and rhythm sections. The album premiered internationally through another tour in Russia and Eastern Europe, and also gained the attention of music publications around the globe. Metal Na Lata in Brazil noted the “impeccable” instrumental and symphonic arrangement, with an appreciation for Talia’s vocals that “shows all her talent in an almost mystical way”. The first single of the album, Echoes, was called “artistically brilliant”, which is no surprise, given that the harmonic and rhythmic backbone of the song was contributed by the band’s newest member, bass player Jim Lasselle, who brings more than 20 years of songwriting experience to the mix in addition to driving the low end of the Beyond Forgiveness soundspace.
In the album, Live to Tell the Story, every band member upped their game to provide the rich, epic, and powerful sound. Lead guitarist, Greg Witwer, proved that his riveting guitar solos could reach through to captivate critics in the scene. In addition, the man behind the rhythmic definition of each song has gained particular notoriety in the reviews. Powerthorn described the band as “passionate-sounding, talented musicians (especially the drummer, Sean Rogers).
Combining classical orchestration with contrasting vocal styles and elements of death metal, black metal, folk metal, thrash metal, and progressive metal, to defy boundaries and create a sound all their own, Beyond Forgiveness fills a sonic void in the music scene for those who crave depth, heaviness, mood, and layers of connection to emotion and all facets of the human experience. But this epic journey the band has created thus far, is only the prologue for what’s to come.