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What the Forest Rememebers - 79%

TheStormIRide, May 3rd, 2018

Darkeater is a Russian band that formed in 2014. The band recently unleashed their second full length album, Что помнит лес, in December of 2017 through Wolfspell Records. The project is a duo consisting of Eljah D. (guitars, drum programming) and Kolodum (vocals, guitars, keyboards), who have both performed on all of the band’s material, with their latest offering being no different. The album title is loosely translated as “What the Forest Remembers”, which, when coupled with the fact that this is released through Wolfspell, should give you a fairly good idea of what Darkeater was going for here.

First, a little background, as I stumbled across Darkeater a little late in the game. It wasn’t until their 2016 split with fellow Russian band Skogsande that I took notice, as they stole the show with two tracks of cold and melancholic atmospheric black metal on that split. I corrected my mistake and have since spent time with most of the project’s earlier material. To those familiar with the band’s previous stuff, there aren’t many surprises lurking within Что помнит лес. Darkeater still employs those frigid atmospherics surrounded by a melancholic aura.

The album unfolds, quite slowly to be honest, over forty-two minutes. The packaging employs lush greens and earth tones, which might seem a tad out of place given the cold tones employed; that is, until you sit with the album for a bit. The cold, underlying tremlo riffing washes through like the last cold breezes before spring finally takes root. The slow moving, programmed drums plod forward steadily, like the last bits of snow finally being claimed as the sun finally starts to warm the ground. It’s like the promise of warmth in the spring, though the frost refuses to loose its grip. The sweeping keyboard backing provides a lush, gentle heat, allowing growth despite the lingering cold.

Though Что помнит лес has a lot of black metal elements, harsh, shrieked vocals and cold tremolo picking, the album doesn’t evoke angst or anger or darkness. It’s an homage to nature and verdant beauty, even when we’re a trying to remember what it was like before the cold started. It embodies a forest struggling to over the final grips of winter and remember the lush greens of the previous year. Imagine the chill of ColdWorld meeting the lush soundscapes of Lustre and you’ll be able to visualize what Darkeater is reaching for here. A really cool, chill album to have playing in the background (pun only half-intended), this one may take a few spins to sink in, but it’s well worth the time if you want to lose yourself in the growing spring.

Written for The Metal Observer.