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Darkest Era - Severance review


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Band: Darkest Era
Album: Severance
Release date: June 2014

01. Sorrow's Boundless Realm
02. Songs Of Gods And Men
03. The Serpent And The Shadow
04. Beyond The Grey Veil
05. Trapped In The Hourglass
06. The Scavenger
07. A Thousand Screaming Souls
08. Blood, Sand And Stone

Severance is the album of a band well on the way to honing their style. Ireland's Darkest Era have ventured away from a strong Primordial influence on their 2011 debut The Last Caress Of Light, to something burgeoning with their own character. This effort is a heavy riff haven for all fans of metal rocking a Celtic charm.

An emphasis on their folk aspects may have diminished in their sound on this new record, but what replaces it is a palpable energy in more up-tempo and unabashedly heavy riff work. While folk metal remains a fundamental part of the style, the focus for the band has centred on melodic hook filled guitar work and an excellently propulsive rhythm section. The enthusiastic performance here is managed not only by the effectiveness of the twin guitars of Ade Mulgrew and Sarah Wieghell, who carve out of the gloom their Celtic tinged riffs after Celtic tinged riffs, but by the band acting as one and with evident vitality. Every instrument is well expressed and fulfils a role that in unison perpetuates a sound with dynamism as its leading quality. The energy here creates unstoppable movement and rapid direction in the tunes, which are structured as traditional heavy metal numbers rather than the more expansive folk flavoured metal approach of The Last Caress Of Light.

Vocalist Dwayne Maguire, nicknamed "Krum," demonstrates his powerful delivery and versatility in a ranging performance evoking varied moods alongside the charging guitar leads. As was the case on The Last Caress Of Light, primarily the vibe is that of doom, as best exemplified by "Beyond The Grey Veil" and its emotionally potent chorus. Stylistically, however, the environment in which Krum performs here is rather more upbeat than the preceding album, and he finds much opportunity to display his abilities at a quicker pace. The attention to the guitars is well matched by the vocal arrangements, which offer many memorable lyric lines.

The sense of immediacy and urgency in the song writing here, when compared with the debut, shows the band hungry for more and making a significant stylistic shift, which is a hallmark of creativity and their own daring to shake things up rather than fall into the infamous "sophomore slump." Doomier remnants continue to purvey Darkest Era's style, such as in longer cuts like "Blood, Sand And Stone." Generally though, the album is catered toward traditional heavy metal fans more-so than can be said of their first record, and may prove a disappointing turn for fans of the stronger folk and closer Primordial influences witnessed therein.

Overall this album ably shows us that Darkest Era are quite capable in marking their own stylistic sign on the Irish metal scene in what is surely one of this year's most enthusiastic traditional heavy metal outings.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 8


Written on 15.06.2014 by R'Vannith enjoys music, he's hoping you do too.


Comments: 3   Visited by: 132 users
15.06.2014 - 12:48
Ag Fox
Angel No More
Cool. I need some good heavy metal, so I'll have to check these guys out
loves 小巫
16.06.2014 - 18:44
Liked their last one, so I'm checking out this for sure. Judging by your review, it's a winner.
Written by BloodTears on 19.08.2011 at 18:29

Like you could kiss my ass.
03.01.2015 - 08:18
Yes, the faster tempo and "sense of urgency" certainly bode well for this band. I enjoyed the debut, but it wasn't GREAT. It was good and interesting and nice and I don't really listen much. But THIS! Wow. Not perfect yet but who cares? What a lovely album indeed. Everything that was awesome about the debut but made better, made stronger, and made more beautiful. The faster tempos, as you mention, are KEY.

I agree with much of what you wrote but I don't agree that they did away with an emphasis on the folk element. It's still strong, to my ear, and other than the better use of tempo I don't hear a largely notable stylistic shift, either. Evolution, yes; change, no. In the end, though, we agree that it's a great album!!
"A life all mine
Is what I choose
At the end of my days"
--The Gathering "A Life All Mine" from Souvenirs

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