Duskmourn - Of Shadow and Flame - (9.5/10)
Published on December 28, 2017
Genre:Epic Death / Folk
Hailing from Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Duskmourn have carved their own niche in the twilight zone between folk and epic melodic death metal. The mention of “folk” might cause a nervous twitch with some, but the duo does not utilize much in terms of folk instruments, neither are there any pure folk melodies to be found either, so even metalheads with folk allergies should give Of Shadow and Flame a try, because it will give most established bands a run for their money!
Consisting of the duo of Walter Deyo and Bill Sharpe, Duskmourn approach the genre in a grand, epic way that inevitably will draw the listener into their world for the duration of the next 54 minutes, entering with the sound of wind, before the majestic grandeur takes over. Mostly operating in the mid-to faster paced tempos, Of Shadow and Flame builds up this grand, epic atmosphere that threads through the tapestry of their compositions, enriched by subtle folk and pagan metal influences, driven forward by beautiful melodies, rich dynamics and an ultimately immersive sound.
And it is the attention to the little details and intricacies that push the album over the edge, be it the subtle folk elements on “Through the Wild”, the dreamy guitar solo of “Where Shadows Lurk” or the way they layer the acoustic guitar over their metal sound on “Crowned in Flame”, it all shows that the band is willing and more than able to enhance their sound without resorting to full-fledged excursions into other realms. Even though every track has enough substance and quality to stand on its own, there are a few songs that stand head and shoulder about the others.
“Through the Wild” sets the scene with its majestic atmosphere and epic melodies, while “The Frozen Mire” shows a bit more of a pagan influence in the guitars and “Mountains of Darkness” has this beautiful acoustic passage before “Crowned in Flame” unleashes the blastbeats and definitely goes down as the album’s fastest and heaviest track, but also has the above mentioned passage, where they layer the acoustic guitar over the whole pandemonium for great effect!
They kept the best for last, though, with closing “The Last Voyage” pulling out all stops into one grand epic song with tons of atmosphere, awesome little melodies strewn in and going down to the acoustic guitar only to rebuild from there, this is a true widescreen production that can wipe the floor with many of its contemporaries!
The production is warm and full, allowing the music to breathe and expand like a living organism and the music greatly benefits from this, gaining the necessary space needed to give the listener the ultimate experience, while the moody artwork does its part to round off a thoroughly total package.
Duskmourn do not have to hide behind any of the established acts, quite the contrary, Of Shadow and Flame is an absolutely outstanding piece of folk/death/pagan metal that should not disappoint any fan of the genre, with a depth and dynamic variety one does not see often these days. Heaviest recommendation!