If you had asked me around 2017 who Melissa Bonny was, I would have drawn a blank. The first time I heard of her was in 2018 when she was still a member of RAGE OF LIGHT. Since then, I have seen her name pop up in various places, most notably SERENITY (live) and WARKINGS (as Queen of the Damned). So when AD INIFINITUM released their debut album in 2020 (Chapter I: Monarchy), I was really excited, as I am now for their upcoming second installment. And, as if all these projects are not enough, we have a new band featuring Melissa Bonny, THE DARK SIDE OF THE MOON, whose main goal is to metalize songs from movies, TV shows, and games, as well as produce some original material. As a first taste of what is to come, the band has released “Jenny of Oldstone,” which Game of Thrones fans should recognize.
“Jenny of Oldstone” is the song that Podrick Payne sings before the great battle against the White Walkers in the second episode of season eight, while FLORENCE + THE MACHINE performs the song over the episode’s closing credits. This song comes straight from George R. R. Martin’s books and apparently has a complicated history (see here). So, how does this version vary from the previous ones?
First and foremost, what is most important in such cases is that the identity and feel of the song remain intact regardless of how it is performed, and this holds true for what THE DARK SIDE OF THE MOON have done. The added growls in the middle, the aggressive guitars, and the powerful drums don’t take away from the melancholy of the original. On the contrary, the growled “never wanted to leave” parts just add an extra dose of emotion to the song. Apart from this, much of the success should be attributed to Melissa Bonny ,whose melodic and heartbreaking vocals carry the tune perfectly, adding emotion and fragility when needed. On top of this, Jenny Diehl’s harp playing enhances the atmosphere, bringing forth the medieval feel of the song. It is indeed more dynamic and has many more layers to it (including an outstanding guitar solo) than what either Podrick or FLORENCE + THE MACHINE offered, but it still resonates with the emotions of the listeners.
Consisting of members from AD INFINITUM, AMARANTHE, and FEUERSCHWANZ, THE DARK SIDE OF THE MOON can rightfully be considered a supergroup, which raises the stakes that much more. Good news: this first and only song delivers on all accounts. It is no wonder such a big label like Napalm Records signed them just based on this song alone. It also goes to show that metal music can be as cinematic and expressive as any other type of music… if done right. Looking forward to hearing the dark side of more such songs from this talented group of people.
Written by Andrea Crow
Melissa Bonny – vocals
Hans Platz – guitars
Jenny Diehl – harp
Morten Løwe Sørensen – drums