Rating:
8.7
Darzamat - Solfernus' Path
28 August 2009


01. False Sleepwalker
02. Vote For Heresy
03. I Devium
04. Pain Collector
05. Final Conjuration
06. II Fumus
07. Gloria Inferni
08. III Venenum
09. Solfernus' Path
10. Lunar Silhouette
11. King Of The Burning Anthems
12. IV Spectaculum
13. Chimera
14. A Mesmeric Séance


Like a thick mist that mercilessly overwhelms one in the dead of night, there really was no escape for me once the disquieting introduction pulled me into the concept of Solfernus' Path. Darzamat's latest is an exhaustively worked-over album that bridges the abyss between aggressive gothic metal and melodic black metal. After a quick glance at the deceptive artwork that adorns the album's cover, a turn of the page reveals the obviously perilous beginnings: a journal entry of student named Filip Stodulski, a broken down automobile in 1909, and his subsequent entry into the nearby mansion of Countess Josephine von Küchmeister.

Darzamat have been perfecting their style for a few albums now, putting their albums before SemiDevilish so far in the distance I'll likely only listen to them in historical terms from now on. They've presented us with a thicker production compared to their Transkarpatia release from four years prior, and continue to unearth even more pleasingly creepy melodies despite keeping songs in the four minute area. The band must have spent countless sleepless nights refining the arrangements and lyrics, as any attempt to follow along with the booklet quickly found me as lost as our main character, Filip, as he began searching the rooms of the Countess's mansion. Half of the the lyrics are absent from the songs themselves, and the rest are rarely in the order written.

Heavy emphasis on guitar riffs is found throughout, spreading out in a mixture of death and gothic styles. Much to my approval, some solos work their way onto the album, with particular notice on the final track, "Mesmeric Séance," and on "King Of The Burning Anthems," which features a guest solo by Andy LaRocque. A dark atmosphere is ever-present in Solfernus' Path, with the synth interjecting itself out of background harmonies to keep the transitions seamless, as well as taking on a life of their own in the numerous appropriate interludes.

What I enjoy most about Darzamat is the layers of abrasive, love-it-or-hate-it male vocals of Flauros balanced by the eerie, beckoning female vocals of Nera. Like a smokey, infected howl that chases you in a rotting apparition, Flauros is the blunt balance that the vigorous drumming demands. Nera is never the typical style of the genre, instead providing the sinister vocal representation to what perhaps the Countess's voice sounds like. The addition of tasteful melodic moans and her lingering accent only add appeal to her approach, and an excellent mix gives her lines the attention that develops into anticipation after repeated listens.

Before the release, Darzamat had noted the concept album's transcendental nature, and their writing's similarities to Polish horror/fantasy author Stefan Grabinski. After spending many sleepless nights reading and re-reading Grabinski's short stories, I'm convinced the band has succeeded. One read through a story like "Saturnin Sektor" with its debate of Time versus Duration, of unexplained murder and its compulsive insanity, and Solfernus' Path instantly becomes the only soundtrack I'll need.

Filled with dreary yet lush photography, Darzamat's latest is best understood with its booklet in hand to follow the migration of our protagonist to newfound mental planes. Solfernus' Path is not just an album that suddenly presses down on you with an inescapable nighttime mist from above, but also relentlessly itches your skin from below with an invisible raven's feather. More focused than ever, they appeal to a metal listener of a particular taste, one who loves a melodic accessibility but also finds comfort in the foggy wastelands that lurk between genres.

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 9


Band profile: Darzamat
Album: Solfernus' Path


 


written by dismaleuphony | 18.01.2010



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THE_BLACK_GOD - 18.01.2010 at 11:24  
Solid review, and a solid work. I really liked this album when I heard it. I think its their best album and one of the best gothic albums of 2009.
annodomini - 18.01.2010 at 15:10  
Very solid album, but Transkarpatia was a bit better.
Dani5050 - 18.01.2010 at 16:31  
Very very nice review, and I enjoy the album very much......:banger2:
Fat & Sassy! - 18.01.2010 at 16:54  
I do say, this album sounds VERY interesting. I'll definitely be checking it out. Fo' sho.
Merchant of Doom - 18.01.2010 at 18:22  
Surely this is simphomic gothic metal?
annodomini - 18.01.2010 at 19:33  
Written by Merchant of Doom on 18.01.2010 at 18:22

Surely this is simphomic gothic metal?


I would rather call it Symphonic death/black with some gothic influences... It has nothing to do with Epica, After Forever of Nightwish, its more in the same row with Ram-Zet.
Jon - 18.01.2010 at 20:58  
I must say this is a top-notch review. Touches on every element of the concept and music. I can't agree with it, as I find Darzamat to have been locked in a sort of futile repetition of themselves over the past decade, but had I not heard it dismaleuphony would have had me on amazon very soon xD good job mate
Ag Fox - 18.01.2010 at 21:14  
Good review. The arrangements are great and Nera's vocals are really disturbing. The length of the album is perfect too
THE_BLACK_GOD - 19.01.2010 at 01:21  
Written by annodomini on 18.01.2010 at 19:33

Written by Merchant of Doom on 18.01.2010 at 18:22

Surely this is simphomic gothic metal?


I would rather call it Symphonic death/black with some gothic influences... It has nothing to do with Epica, After Forever of Nightwish, its more in the same row with Ram-Zet.

I cant see any death metal influences in this album. this is a gothic metal album with some symphonic black metal (as Cradle of Filth) but not farther than that. nowadays I hear weird things about gothic albums, someone says Paradise Lost is Death metal and now Darzamat.
Richard - 19.01.2010 at 02:28  
From listening to the myspace stuff, this is OK. I think I heard some of Darzamat's older stuff, but never a whole album. The way the female vocals are used reminds me a bit of some of Soulgrind's stuff - they suddenly come in with a strange little melody or something...
Umideath - 20.01.2010 at 14:05  
Solfernus' Path Better than previously albums
BudDa - 06.03.2010 at 16:49  
Awesome Review dismaleuphony. I don't have the album storyline with me but after reading your review and listening to this record side by side, I could help but commend you on the great job done. This is my first outing with the band and after repetitive listens I have come to the conclusion that this is a lovely album..
Array - 07.10.2010 at 18:39  
Written by Richard on 19.01.2010 at 02:28

From listening to the myspace stuff, this is OK. I think I heard some of Darzamat's older stuff, but never a whole album. The way the female vocals are used reminds me a bit of some of Soulgrind's stuff - they suddenly come in with a strange little melody or something...

I agree, female vocals definitely reminds of Soulgrind.
Milena - 21.04.2011 at 21:53  
'Half of the the lyrics are absent from the songs themselves, and the rest are rarely in the order written.'
I hate it when that happens -.-
Troy Killjoy - 22.04.2011 at 03:18  
Written by Milena on 21.04.2011 at 21:53

'Half of the the lyrics are absent from the songs themselves, and the rest are rarely in the order written.'
I hate it when that happens -.-

Nothing worse than singing along when you're getting comfortable with a song so you're still looking at lyrics sites or the booklet itself as you sing and you keep screwing up.
Milena - 22.04.2011 at 15:41  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 22.04.2011 at 03:18

Written by Milena on 21.04.2011 at 21:53

'Half of the the lyrics are absent from the songs themselves, and the rest are rarely in the order written.'
I hate it when that happens -.-

Nothing worse than singing along when you're getting comfortable with a song so you're still looking at lyrics sites or the booklet itself as you sing and you keep screwing up.


It completely sucks. I wonder who's responsible for that?
Troy Killjoy - 22.04.2011 at 15:54  
Written by Milena on 22.04.2011 at 15:41

It completely sucks. I wonder who's responsible for that?

I'm assuming it's the lyricist. Maybe they don't all want you to know the exact words or something. Or the vocalist. Sometimes they might like to change up a stanza or two in order to fit with the pace.

A good example of this is Blood Red Throne. A lot of times as you read through the lyrics and listen to the vocals, he skips a lot of words or even mashes some together to fit the flow of the music. On top of that a lot of the lyrics aren't even in the booklet.
Milena - 22.04.2011 at 16:16  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 22.04.2011 at 15:54

Written by Milena on 22.04.2011 at 15:41

It completely sucks. I wonder who's responsible for that?

I'm assuming it's the lyricist. Maybe they don't all want you to know the exact words or something. Or the vocalist. Sometimes they might like to change up a stanza or two in order to fit with the pace.

A good example of this is Blood Red Throne. A lot of times as you read through the lyrics and listen to the vocals, he skips a lot of words or even mashes some together to fit the flow of the music. On top of that a lot of the lyrics aren't even in the booklet.

Yeah, maybe the lyricist hands over the lyrics for the booklet to be printed, and then he/singer changes it like it's not a big deal. Well, to us obsessive people it sure is
dismaleuphony - 23.04.2011 at 07:49  
Well, thanks to my love for this album, all the lyrics here on MS for it I transcribed myself, so there's no issue following along Of course, it's still much better to have the full booklet in front of you to additionally read along with the background story of the main character

Considering how much time seemed to pass from the band's discussions about the album before it's final release date, my assumption is that the printing was done in anticpation of the release, but more editing of the songs themselves continued before the release became finalized, but I guess that's a question to ask the band directly
Troy Killjoy - 23.04.2011 at 14:58  
Written by dismaleuphony on 23.04.2011 at 07:49

...but I guess that's a question to ask the band directly

Are you hinting at something?

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