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Not quite developed yet - 62%

iamntbatman, November 17th, 2009

Darkestrah's second demo kicks off with "Lost in Eternal Calmness" which is essentially a shortened early version of "Jashil-Oy" which would later appear on the band's first album. Considering the four-year gap between these two releases, it's surprising how developed the song is at this early stage. It's a folk song, especially in its shortened version here that omits the metal segments, but it's one of the best folk melodies I've ever heard on a metal album so it gets absolutely no complaints from me.

The demo's centerpiece is the epic title track. The poor production quality turns the trebly guitars into something almost unrecognizable as guitars; they almost sound more like a distant orchestra or at the very least, a string section as heard through a thick wall. The drumming is quite prominent and varied, but unfortunately the guitar and drums seem to get out of time with one another pretty frequently. Kriegtalith's vocals are quite hateful but the shoddy production causes them to clip pretty frequently. The middle section of the song features some interesting and creepy synth work which is the most clear sounding thing on the track. After a while it moves into cliched haunted house soundtrack territory, which is unfortunate considering the band has already demonstrated such an obvious knack for interesting melodies at this early stage in their discography. Eventually the other instruments and vocals come back in while the synth continues to dominate, sounding something like blackened funeral doom in the process. Following this section, the band kicks into overdrive with Kriegtalith delivering her most frenzied vocal performance on record. Oddly enough, the band seems to lock into the riff quite well during this segment despite the rapid tempo. Unlike the rest of the demo, this aggressive section actually benefits from the production and is the highlight of the non-folk portion of the demo. The song slows down again for the conclusion and once again has some awkward sounding stumbles but remains interesting.

The demo closes with a brief piece featuring some light tribal-sounding drumming and some sort of horn with a distinctly woody quality about it.

There are some interesting things going on on this demo, but ultimately I feel that Darkestrah found better ways to incorporate their folk influences into their black metal on later releases. I also think that for this flavor of epic black/folk metal, better production is really needed to showcase these elements. Not essential by any means but not terrible. Stick with Darkestrah's full-lengths unless you're a completionist.