Darkspace - Darkspace III I
Avantgarde Music
Black Metal, Industrial
3 songs (1:04:19)
Release year: 2014
Avantgarde Music
Reviewed by Goat

Some black metal bands seem to use lengthy compositions as endurance tests rather than musical endeavours, yet thankfully Swiss trio Darkspace are an exception. The band, consisting of Paysage D'Hiver mainman Wroth and the mysterious Zhaaral and Zorgh, have been with us for fifteen years now yet their brand of deep-space black metal, that has more in common with decaying supernovas that burning churches, is yet to feel old. Partly this is thanks to the band's compositional skills, first notable on 2008's Darkspace III – although the music lacks anything remotely akin to hooks, it's still oddly listenable, particularly for black metal veterans. It's rarely just guitars and bass (and programmed drums) – opening track Dark 4.18 here takes in everything from dark ambient to breathy moans and gasps, suggesting some obscure yet majestic space opera is taking place just beyond our limits of perception.

Don't think that Darkspace ask for nothing from their listeners, though; said opening salvo Dark 4.18 is over twenty-seven minutes long, and the other two tracks are over eighteen minutes. And that opener takes its time, giving you two minutes of ambience before the drum beats and dissonant riffs kick in; taking over four before the vocals do, horrific, alien screams and growls that sound extra vicious thanks to the backing torrent of sound, which has an added grandiosity as the track continues. It's certainly the most abstract piece on the album, barely structured as anything but a morass of screams and sound at moments – the bleakness and horror of deep, dark space is what is represented, and the band do it damn well.

That's not the only trick in their book, though, as Dark 4.19 shows almost immediately with bold, upfront, almost chugging riffs, that continue through much of the track. It's as much industrial metal as black, backing electronic beeps and whistles giving a very different sort of spacey sound to before – and one much more relaxing in style, oddly, than the horrific opener, especially towards the end where a more melodic mode takes hold. By the time Dark 4.20 comes around, with a return to the harsh bleakness of the opening track, it's hard not to feel each and every one of the minutes that each track takes – but you enjoy them for their own sake. A potent reminder of one of black metal's more unusual band's power.

Killing Songs :
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Goat quoted 85 / 100
Other albums by Darkspace that we have reviewed:
Darkspace - Darkspace III reviewed by James and quoted 85 / 100
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