There’ve been some pretty bitching black metal albums of late. I guess an obvious name to mention would be Saor, but there are some other great artists doing similar things. The Frozen Ocean managed to renounce a lot of black metal tropes and make something completely new out of an old sound with this year’s EP The Prowess of Dormition. Forndom also fucking killed it this year by renouncing the general sound (but not the spirit) of black metal with Dauðra Dura, and Goatpsalm did something very similar too with Downstream.
This article, however, is going to cover a band that’s playing around with more symphonic elements rather than folk-influenced black metal (though there are still elements of folk): Darkestrah.
Now, Darkestrah has been around for some time (1999 to be precise); how they haven’t already been covered on Heavy Blog is beyond me, especially considering that their discography includes six studio albums, two EPs, and one live album. But nonetheless, they deserve some spotlight here with their newest release, Turan—an album that gives a lot of credit to all the subgenres of black metal without really falling into any one in particular.
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For much of Turan, Darkestrah keeps to a more traditional black metal sound—lots of high-pitched shrieking, tremolo picking, and a few blast beats here and there—you know, that kind of stuff. But every so often, they’ll change around this traditional sound, and add some flair and bells and whistles to it. A lot of the first half of the album uses a lot of cool symphonic elements—mostly melancholic strings, that almost give it a Saor type of feel. It’s not necessarily symphonic black metal or folk as its traditionally thought—it’s more as if Turan is a standard black metal album with elements of each strung through it.
But, hey, decide for yourself! While I don’t think this is going to be serious AOTY material, Turan is nonetheless a solid album, and if you’re looking for black metal with a little something different, look no further.