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Dark and Epic - 89%

Shadespawn, November 7th, 2010

Dalkhu is a Slovenian band hailing from Slovenj Gradec that started out as a project by guitarist Sorg in 2003 with the intention of going against the mainstream and popular direction the scene that was once called black metal was (and still is) heading. After some time making music as a duo and putting out a demo "Ars Goetia", Sorg and Kalki hired vocalist Berstuk and eventually bassist Jurij. With the complete line up, Dalkhu recorded their first full length "Imperator" earlier this year.

Musically this record is in the strong vein of post '94 black metal, strongly resembling the style that was adopted by bands such as Satyricon or the German band Nocte Obducta, at least these are the first artists that come to mind while listening this through. This new direction would emphasize on a more clear production and concentrate on creating a more divine and epic feeling, rather than the gloomy counterpart that was before. Interesting as the development of black metal might be, comparing old Darkthrone albums with newer, say Satyricon albums is generally a complete different experience and not necessarily a bad one. While Dalkhu themselves want little to no connection with what calls itself black metal nowadays, their music still can be best described as a distant (2010) relative to this music, since all the basic foundations are here, be it the stinging guitar tune, the raspy vocals or the vengeful and grim atmosphere. The tracks are straightforward without many derivations from the overall intention of creating a monument of nice and aggressive music with focus on animalistic, ferocious, satanic madness. Yet the music manages not to sound monotonous, as the structure of the songs remains to stay interesting with slower epic guitar dominated parts that add to an overall epic mood, catchy riffs that evolve nicely throughout the songs or simply majestic and exalted sounding bridges. Compared to most "black metal" shite that ridiculous poseurs put out today, this record makes the exception of actually being good and really gets to you nostalgically. This album works because it's coherent and stands as a thoroughly thought piece of art, with a clear intention of doing it for the music's sake. Just listen to "Rendezvous With Destiny" or "Awakening Of Millenniums" and you will realize what I mean. This is fucking epic music right here.

While skeptical at first, this album really does it for me. It stands as an ungeneric, good quality piece of art, with a homage to the old, yet still sounding modern, but with a great antipathy to the degenerate watered down stuff that nowadays people call black metal, or metal for that reason. Recommended.