Sarah after all these years of being a high-profile contributor to many bands has struck out on her own with her debut solo offering. Her career is legendary and was one of the very first females in the more extreme metal genres. Her unique talents have been utilized by such bands as The Gathering, Graveworm, The Kovenant, dating all the way back to the mid-90’s. From her outstanding soprano work on the Therion tours, to her high-profile, long-standing relationship with Cradle Of Filth, Sarah truly is a pioneering female vocalist.
On her solo album she brings a wide range of styles to the album, all metal but with a lot of diversity. That’s what solo albums are for, to try the things you might not get to express as a hired member of other acts. ‘The Devil’s Opera’ sounds like it could have been a soundtrack piece, epic, dark and gothic…not too far removed from her forte. Elsewhere we get some more straight-ahead rockers, where she sings in a middle range. Her vocal work is more of a spoken word delivery in the song ‘They Called Her Lady Tyranny’, one of the heavier cuts on the record. She really stretches out on this one.
Lyrically it seems to be quite heartfelt, coming from an (unsurprisingly) female perspective. This side of her comes as more authentic and inspired than perhaps her work playing certain roles on other bands. Prime example might be the choice of cover tune, ‘Bitch’ a decidedly un-metal tune but one with empowering lyrics from a female perspective. It’s a not a perfect fit sonically but a natural fit thematically.
Sarah brings along some old friends to the album, and she certainly knows many people in the business. Helping her this time around are a couple of dudes from Cradle Of Filth. There are hints of violin and piano to add some spice to the songs as well. It’s well produced, but her vocals at times are mixed a little farther back which I thought was odd for a vocalists solo album. Sonically it’s quite heavy and does fall in the symphonic, more extreme range much of the time. The songs are for the most part a little shorter, the whole 10 track album comes in at just under 45 minutes.
I’m not sure how critical or influential this record will be on the larger pantheon of metal, however, I am a fan of her voice and her work and I’m pleased that she has recorded A SIGN OF SUBLIME. Another little gem in the crown of her life’s work.
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