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THE METAL OBSERVER - Review - DARKNESS - As The Last Star Falls From Heaven

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Darkness - As The Last Star Falls From Heaven (10/10) - Great Britain - 2003/2009

Genre: Black Metal
Label: Dead Wood Recordings
Playing time: 47:09
Band homepage: -


  1. He Who Enters My Tomb, Shall Burn With My Fire
  2. My Heart Is Cold And Full Of Hate
  3. Drink The Black Dragon's Blood
  4. The White Light From Death's Eyes
  5. As The Last Star Falls From Heaven
Darkness - As The Last Star Falls From Heaven

There are works of art that the majority of us never get to enjoy, examples locked in the basements of museums, stacked and racked in company pension funds or hidden in some rich fuckers boast room. “As The Last Star Falls From Heaven” is in danger of becoming another lost work and if you're not quick, you will have to go Indiana Jones in order to find it.

This wonder coursed through this cursed earth many moons ago to be beheld by a fortunate few, having been excavated by some intrepid again, this master-class in bleakness is destined to fall into the hands of the same number of quiver-quicks as before, those that wish to be lost to this perpetual night may already be too late. Much as ice falls from the face of glaciers at their juncture with the sea, so slabs of granite succumb to gravity to shear from the cliff as life absorbing riffs cascade into the dark, defined only by the shift of fuliginous shapes amongst the black and only the occasional futile glow of cold phosphorescence allowing any perspective. The dense desolation dirge drives forth, devoid of warmth it evokes a subterranean waterfall in full flood, an aphotic flow spewed from a cave mouth, monumental movement that is more sensed than observed.

Where others choose a funereal pace to provide atmosphere, DARKNESS eschews the plod and instead delivers a devastating relentlessness. The battery is a lone machine gun against an overwhelming invasion, impossible tempo spat out to hold back the horde, such is the urgency that there is little respite and though your heartbeat could never match it, the constant strafing becomes hypnotic, perhaps because the sound is rounded and slightly muffled rather than a harsh snap. Despite the uniformity, there are subtle rolls and the cymbal crashes could just as easily be the hiss of blood and sweat boiling on a overheating gun barrel, the mechanistic pounding of the percussion certainly provides an unstoppable vehicle for the austerity of the other instrumentation and ensures any flickering of light is stamped out well before photons are freed.

Whilst cataclysmic, “As The Last Star Falls From Heaven” is not chaotic, it conforms to a disciplined structure which is too powerful to sound clipped and though aspects are somewhat nebulous, there is direction, like clouds scudding across the sky. If you ever give thought as to what is involved at world's end, this will give you some idea, enhanced by the narrative that is ripped and torn by cosmic winds as it swoops down amongst the doomed to relieve them of their souls. This voice is wordless, the bestial snarl insinuating demise rather than stating it, there is a quality of it being wrenched from a distant throat at the same time as the sense that it is being whispered in your ear, the ubiquity decrying any notion that it is born of man.

This album has such presence that the listener is diminished, akin to the tethered ants on a mountain. The seemingly simplistic sweep is in fact a deception, nuance and drama eddy and swirl within this black mass, a deep ocean current dragging cold to warmer regions. The sheer magnificence of this work will render you motionless until its end, its depth is all encompassing and you will be engrossed by the stark passage of the turmoil trapped within.

DARKNESS has provided a work both monstrous and mesmerising, by my reckoning there will be 132 persons who will be able to directly marvel at this music. Not that I advocate it but you may be forgiven if you turn to violence or artifice in order to remedy your opportunity missed, on your head be it.

(Online October 7, 2009)

Niall MacCartney

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