Darkestrah - Turan
Osmose Productions
Atmospheric Black Metal
6 songs (52'37")
Release year: 2016
Osmose Productions
Reviewed by Alex

If there is one thing certain about the music Darkestrah plays, at least on the albums I heard, it is about telling a story. Without reading full lyrics or fully understanding album titles (what does Turan mean?), I still comprehend the weightiness and expanse of their long, continuously building, enveloping tracks. Turan is no different, and these Kyrgyz via Germany musicians continue invoking images of faraway remote steppe and desert landscapes. You may not understand the opening spoken words of One with the Grey Spirit or The Hidden Light, but you feel that they are enunciated by a shaman/holy medicine man in a yurt, the hut of the Asian steppe, rocking by the fire, with ravens circling overhead. What also comes out pretty clearly on Turan is the sense of longing, life hardship and perhaps even tragedy Darkestrah is portraying so well.

To express these feelings, just like on The Great Silk Road and Khagan EP, the band continues to play their version of black metal blending repeating deliberate riffs, backed by oodles of atmosphere and folk influences. This is definitely more melodic than brutal, yet when the wall of sound around 4' of One with the Grey Spirit hits, pickling tremolo enters and demonic vocals croak, there is no doubt it is black metal after all. At the same time Darkestrah is not about grinding you into submission or opening up the depth of hellish descend. Turan success and your acceptance of it depends on how you feel about texture and atmosphere of exalted euphoria in black metal. If you don't feel the magic happening when Bird of Prey goes from obsessively incessant to crushing to wanting to fly and soar, then you have to put the album away and come back to it at a later time. For me, I felt the connection again, just I like did earlier on The Great Silk Road. Smooth and painful guitar glide of Gleaming Madness leaves noticeable burns on my psyche and rousing melody at the end of Erlik-Khan totally put me on my knees.

There is no question double digit minutes long tracks can become tedious, if your spirit does not share the same wavelength with Darkestrah all the time. To this extent I felt that the band unfortunately toned down their use of native instruments and overt folk melodies. The glimpses of using the 3-string native harp are there (Gleaming Madness, One with the Grey Spirit), but for the needed sense of spiritual exhilaration, these are, indeed, only glimpses. In the hands of Darkestrah something that could have been primitive string plucking does not feel like a gimmick at all and is being missed. More of temir-komuz and rhythmic percussion, as in the opening of The Hidden Light, would have been very welcome.

Perhaps I am being overly picky here, and thinking that every moment and every note of this over 50 min long album will keep me in awe. As atmospheric black metal albums go, Turan is very solid, it is just Darkestrah had me spoiled before.

Killing Songs :
One with the Grey Spirit, Elrik-Khan, Bird of Prey
Alex quoted 85 / 100
Other albums by Darkestrah that we have reviewed:
Darkestrah - Khagan reviewed by Alex and quoted 75 / 100
Darkestrah - The Great Silk Road reviewed by Alex and quoted 88 / 100
Darkestrah - Sary Oy reviewed by Misha and quoted 70 / 100
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