Darkspace - II

  | CD

Darkspace-II Reissue of Swiss gloomy Black Metal on Avantegarde. "Ever since I downloaded Darkspace's first full-length I've been dying to get my hands on one of the 500 copies to no avail. Mysteriously, around November I received an email directly from the band informing me of an exclusive live performance where they were to unleash their second offering. I was provided with the latitude and longitudinal coordinates of the concert/ritual, but unfortunately couldn't attend since the plane ticket was obviously unaffordable. So, for a month longer I eagerly awaiting their second evolution to be released on cd, and what I finally received is certainly that. Gone are the downtuned monotonous palm-muted guitars, but everything else seems to have remained intact, yet heightened. Where do I begin...

What we have here is 54 minutes of purely cold and alien black metal ambience from the far reaches of space. The first track is introduced with a few minutes of expected ambience which perfectly sets the mood for the rest of the album. When the guitars finally kick in, the listener is treated to slow, repetitive, and drawn out riffage, which goes on pretty much unchanged for about 8 minutes with the exception of the addition of some double bass and multiple synth layerings. After all the almost untolerably long buildup to something expectedly epic beyond measure, the guitars immediately die into more ambience.....

A nearly indecipherable sample is added to the ambient sound. Then, after a few long seconds, all hell breaks loose. The guitars and drums come in full-force with a blast sustained until about 19 minutes into the 23 minute long song. After so much buildup, this unrelenting mayhem never ceases to lose its impact. It's as if the moment of the blast's entrance is recaptured every following moment for 8 minutes straight. The vocals never stop, the riff barely changes, and the drums never alternate. The vocals, by the way, are absolutely brilliant. They range from distant inhuman shrieks to strange serpentine whispers to some of the most tortured wails you'll ever hear. However, they always remain obscure and very low in the mix. Actually, everything seems to be low in the mix. The production provides for a supremely balanced wave of sound comparable to nothing other than Paysage d'Hiver, but much much better (in my opinion). After the blast sadly comes to an end, the listener is cooled down with a few minutes of slowed down falling action and a little more ambience to close the track.

Track 2 is simply a much needed 10 minute interlude of sci fi ambience. Enough said.

After the 10 minutes of track 2 fades by without notice, once again, the band re-enters with another startling explosion of fury. As with the major entrance in track 1, this one comes rather unexpected and reminds you how utterly brutal this band can be (while remaining quite sophisticated, I must say). Blasting drums, pummeling guitars, inhuman screams. Don't mistake this description for something like Antaeus or Mayhem. Though the way the instruments are played is similar, the atmosphere and aesthetic is totally different. I'd venture to say that it's totally different from anything the genre of Black Metal has ever produced, and Black Metal is a genre that has produced A LOT. The name Darkspace is almost the only description of this band anyone would ever need, but I digress. Contrary to the grand entrance on track 1, the entrance of track 3 comes at a time where the listener has been lost in the oblivion of Darkspace's ambience to a point where they have probably forgotten what exactly they were listening to. Once again, the impact sustains. After about 4 minutes, the drumming slows and the band regroups. Another 2 minutes pass and the blast resumes, accompanied by some of the most inhumanly high-pitched shrieks Darkspace's vocalist has ever spewed. At times, it is unclear whether the strange noises are random samplings or indeed vocals. Sometimes they sound like they have been reversed. Atop the tremeloed guitars some obvious, yet perfectly timed arpeggiations are added. Then, at just short of 10 minutes the guitars and drums come to a screeching halt, literally. Of all the vocal wretchings on this album, the squeal at this moment is the most alien. It never ceases to raise the hair on the back of my neck.

After this, some desolate chords are held while another guitar plays a simple, short riff and the drums build over the repetition, and then stop. The guitars continue another couple repetitions and then....you guessed it, the blast returns. Somehow, this moment proves to be the most epic of all on the album. The guitars continue their apocalyptic riffing while only the drums change, and the listener is left breathless. No vocals, no immediate sampled noises and weird buried synths like before. The same chord is banged again and again over the underlying riff and the blasting drums. This continues for a couple minutes until everything abruptly ends with a loud whip-like sound sample. Then, of course everything is capped with 7 or so minutes of space-like ambience. Cold and foreign, the sound allows the listener to sit and weep in astonishment.

So ambient, yet so epic. Darkspace are truly masters of their own domain. Where the first album tended to lose the attention of the listener at points (possibly due to its longer overall length), this album is absolutely perfect in every way. I don't have a single complaint. Where things are obvious, they have to be, and where they are unpredictable they are deeply impacting. BUY THIS ALBUM BEFORE IT'S GONE." - Moth/www.metal-archives.com

[ Discography ] 
Label: Avantegarde | Item Code: Various | Country: Switzerland | Year: 2007 | Genre: Black Metal

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