I have never been specially keen on Polish bands playing or being under a certain influence of Gothic Metal. Several years ago albums from ensembles like CLOSTERKELLER, ARTROSIS, CEMETERY OF SCREAM or the now reviewed DARZAMAT did not match the level of – at that time – my favourite Goth groups from Scandinavia, England and Portugal. Now, after having listened to “Solfernus’ Path”, it is time to reconsider at least a bit my view upon this matter as this brand new album form the Poles is from its very beginning an eloquent proof of musical talent and professional approach as regards wrapping artistic ideas in satisfactory sound.
Despite their not inventing anything new in the field of Atmospheric Metal, they offer a pretty remarkable blend that undoubtedly will make many connoisseurs of such music pleased and satisfied. What’s very important here is that there is a good balance between the album’s two most important participants – guitars and keyboards. The first ones spread a considerable dose of aggression that seems to originate somewhere in the gloomy realm of Black Metal. Their ultimate moment – though in this case rather far from being Black Metal influenced – can be found in “The King Of Burning Abyss” in the form of an exquisite solo made by Andy La Rocque himself. It is a pity that the band did not decide to add more guitar efforts in this vein because a bigger amount of such fine playing would surely raise the overall value of “Solfernus’ Path”. Another thing that I would not mind this CD to abound with is the number of some already existing choruses. The most engaging fragments of for instance the above-mentioned composition or the opening “False Sleepwalker” appear only once, which makes you feel some sort of lack of fulfilment. On the other hand it is possible that the band wanted to have it this way deciding that it would fit better the conceptual layer of their stuff. Back to the instruments though – the keys are responsible for many frenetic passages and several interludes that have much in common with classical music. Some of them can hardly be called interesting and even if they are somehow designed for illustrating some parts of the album story they simultaneously disturb a bit the flow of the regular songs. The only exception in this case is the track called “Lunar Silhouette” that features Nera’s (band’s vocalist) performance that sounds as if she way singing a lullaby. Talking of which, the fact that DARZAMAT has a female singer armed with such a strong yet clear and spatial voice makes it even more easy to identify the group among the swarms of (at first sight) similar bands. Nera’s brother in arms, Flauros, does fulfil his duties in equally good manner nearly spitting out the lyrics with poison and venom. It will not be an exaggeration to state that this vocal duet is one of the most unique examples of combining male and female voices on the Metal scene (and rest assure as we are not talking about your typical “the beauty and the beast” variation).
I have pointed out the significant role of the guitars, keys and vocalists but it would be at least unfair to forget about the rhythm section. It contributes greatly to the powerful kick this album has. Not only do the songs sound rock solid but they also emanate with great intensity and pulse. If one feels some Death Metal accents here it is surely the result of cooperation between the bass and the battery plus the way these have been mixed and produced.
DARZAMAT’s new effort is definitely one of the brightest things to appear on the Black/Gothic Metal scene this year. Certain ideas present here might have been explored a bit more thoroughly and some fragments could have been left behind the record studio door, still this is a worthwhile piece of music. Is it DARZAMAT’s best? I suppose their most valuable album is still yet to come. Until then check out and enjoy “Solfernus’ Path”.
(Online November 13, 2009)