The traditional sounds of Metal are something that Ireland are not necessarily known for, yes, they have bands such as CELTIC LEGACY, GLYDER or SIROCCO, but let’s face it, they are more known for the likes of PRIMORDIAL, MOURNING BELOVETH, CRUACHAN, GEASA or WAYLANDER in Ireland or GAMA BOMB and SCALD in Northern Ireland, which are either heavier or all-out Folk influenced, but it is always good to hear a band that is holding up the flag of Heavy Metal. Enter Northern Irish DARKEST ERA and their first EP “The Journey Through Damnation” and damn, do they ever have the potential to add their name to above list of bands as good representatives of their country!
Founded only in 2005 we either have absolute naturals here or five folks that rehearse the heck out of their instruments, because the four songs they deliver here sound like they should belong to a band that has been around for way longer than this. Now the band even has been endorsed by none other than Alan Nemtheanga of PRIMORDIAL fame, who claims this EP is the best traditional Metal album ever released in Ireland, so that puts the bar pretty high and all too often new, young bands can’t keep up with this, but DARKEST ERA can, oh yes, can they ever!
Musically I can detect some influences of newer PRIMORDIAL, but approaching from the other side, the one of traditional Heavy Metal, which in turn gets infused with the darker atmosphere of their brethren, resulting in dense, emotive, deep compositions that definitely greatly benefit from Dwayne “Krum” Maguire’s excellent voice, which shows range, power, emotion, expression and melody and that they apparently invested more money into the production than the visual side of things also pays off, because the production is powerful and clear, so I hope the not-that-stellar cover will not rain on their parade too much.
There still is work to be done to reach the realms of PRIMORDIAL, but for a first step “The Journey Through Damnation” is more than just a remarkable feat, it surpasses a lot of label releases of more established bands with ease and you may have noticed that I didn’t mention any particular song here, all four of them have a different quality and all of them could equally serve as check out tips, but if you really want one, then take “Visions Of The Dawn”, my personal favourite!
(Online October 29, 2008)