Sometimes not knowing a lot about a band can be an asset. Your views and opinions of what music you’re about to listen to aren’t coloured by others. Darkest Era are one of those bands for me. I knew the name and that was it, a little assumption on my part was that they were going to be a death metal band because realistically that is what a lot metal bands in Ireland are. Starting off their new album ‘Severance‘, I was pleasantly surprised to hear clean vocals, solid production, some black metal influenced riffing and dynamic drumming. Not just blast beats and constant double bass drumming, which is all well and good but sometimes not always suitable. The first thought is straight to Primordial but it soon becomes evident that this is an unfair assumption, it’s more organic than just trying to be a new version of an old band. There is something fresh about Darkest Era.
The first track, ‘Sorrow’s Boundless Realm’ is a little bit Candlemass, a little bit of the epics that Maiden were writing in the 80’s and is a superb way to open the album. It takes balls to open with a 6 minute black metal/doom/metal saga but it segues brilliantly into the more uptempo ‘Songs of Gods and Men’. The vocals really shine through on this song in particular, the chorus is superb. The backing vocals show an attention to detail that is evident throughout ‘Severance’ and it is this meticulousness that makes the album so listenable. The musicianship is pretty much faultless, nobody is trying to outdo each other and it sounds like everybody played in the same room as each other leading to an album, not just a collection of songs. The twin guitar work of Ade Mulgrew and Sarah Wieghell plays off each other when needed to add more dynamics but without becoming a shred fest. The rhythm work of Daniel O’Toole on bass and Cameron Åhslund-Glass on drums set up a great feel, its tight without losing feel, musical rather than clinical. There are so many bands I’m reminded of while listening to this album (In Solitude on ‘The Serpent and the Shadow, Slough Feg on ‘The Scavenger’…) which is great for two reasons; 1: I love both bands, 2: There aren’t many new bands writing songs this good, never mind writing an entire album this good.
Everything on this album has been done really well, the songs are great, it sounds superb production-wise, even the pacing of the album is pretty much spot on which is something a lot of bands ignore. ‘Severence’ shows the rest of the world (and more importantly Ireland) that it doesn’t have to be from mainland Europe to be top class music.
Darkest Era’s Severance is simply superb. No hype, no gimmicks, just 45 minutes of great music
Stand out tracks:
“Songs of Gods and Men”
“Blood, Sand and Stone”