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Dark Lunacy - The Diarist review


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Band: Dark Lunacy
Album: The Diarist
Release date: March 2006

01. Aurora
02. Play Dead
03. Pulkovo Meridian
04. The Diarist
05. Snowdrifts
06. Now Is Forever
07. On Memory's White Sleigh
08. Heart Of Leningrad
09. Prospekt
10. Motherland
11. The Farewell Song

A powerful record label can ram the worst boring album down your throat for months while extraordinaire bands are flying under the radar of both professionals and fans alike. Dark Lunacy’s career is a perfect illustration of that. I am not even sure those guys are still around but that would be a tragic end to one of Italy’s finest combos. Let’s go back to the year 2006, which brought us Dark Lunacy’s third full-length offering The Diarist, following the excellent Forget Me Not [2003] and Devoid [2000].

The Melodic Death Metal vision of the Parma, Italy quintet has similarities with other bands, but not necessary in their field of expertise. The choir, piano, violins and orchestrations are not without evoking Therion. Yet the atmosphere that those elements bring to the music is darker, the choir alone projects a haunting feel like an army of desperate souls. And this is the magic of Dark Lunacy, managing to render classical elements on a Death Metal album as the dark side of their music. Primarily though, Mike Lunacy’s vocals/growls rival the best Swedish singers who pioneering this style, and the same goes for their songwriting, record production and guitar work. Based solely on the metal components of the album, I would rank it high up there not too far from the vintage Dark Tranquillity tour-de-force efforts and the long-forgotten In Flames masterpieces.

The Diarist possesses flexibility despite its dark atmosphere as a whole. The driving force that explodes from songs such as ‘Aurora’ and ‘Pulkovo Meridian’ is completed by the sheer eeriness of instrumental tracks ‘The Diarist’ and ‘Prospect’. Another interesting moment is ‘On Memory’s While Sleigh’, which pushes the envelope to the very brink of vocalized madness.

The Russian underlying themes and the many Eastern European folklore elements add a level of originality to an already well polished formula, even though I cannot figure out where those influences come from (Italy and Russia have little in common in terms of history and traditions).

Compared to their previous recording, the songs are more polished on this album but in the process they lost a bit of the rawness that spawns from most tracks from Forget Me Not. It is a judgement call but despite the fact that I personally love both albums while acknowledging their different aspects, this one is their reference piece as far as I am concerned. It showcases a level of lucidity and from it emanates an air of wisdom that portrays a more graceful reflection of Dark Lunacy as artists.

The Diarist is a complete package of Melodic Death Metal with flair. What we have in Dark Lunacy’s latest is an excellent album, solid and original through and through with songs that compel the listener to be in awe of the level of work put into them. If you think Sweden is alone in Melodic Death mastery, then you have not yet listened to this killer album.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 9


Written on 23.01.2009 by Bringing you reviews of quality music and interesting questions such as:

"A picture is worth a thousand words. How many words is a song worth?"

I have only got so much patience and skills, you do the math.

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