(Avantgarde Music, 2014)
During it’s 15 years of existence, Swiss band Darkspace has released original and much admired albums of a combination of intense Electronic music and Black Metal. On this their fourth album they continue along the same path. Consisting of three long songs (going over an hour in total), it is not an easy trip to take, demanding a lot of your attention, since stuff this intense does not work well just as background music.
After a very ominous cinematic intro of dark ambient sounds and something which sounds to be a laser-battle (or perhaps just some strange machines making noises), we are pulled into a black void of very warm synthetic sounds but cold feelings, melodic synths and massive guitars. The drumbeats are often very EBM or Goa Trance influenced, sometimes just ultra fast Industrial blasting. The guitars serve mostly as background rhythm, very technical and damping in nature, while the synth leads make most of the melody in the songs. The vocals are typical Black Metal screaming mostly, but sound extremely menacing and unforgiving. Like being at the presence of a higher intelligence not of this world.
Sometimes the walls of sound which make the music are so damp and dark, in that Teitanblood kind of way, it’s hard to make much out of the material, but you get the impression there are very cool things going on in this darkness. Without knowing for sure is this because of bad mixing, or deliberate atmosphere, all I can say is that it works mostly. The atmospheres of this album are immense. This is nothing like Samael’s “Passage”; this is totally dark and “underground”.
Perhaps the dark nature of the mix might scare away certain people, but those used to listening stuff like Portal or Teitanblood are at home in this futuristic Cyberpunk dark world. The music itself is not that complex, and this album relies heavily on the vast dark atmosphere of the hypnotic space-themes, but this is nevertheless a very entertaining ride.
This is of course music for the generation into video games and Black Metal at the same time. Every fan of dark sci-fi, extreme Techno, spacy cosmic themes and aggressive Black Metal will find solace in this unforgiving cold dimension of Darkspace.
8/10 – Antti Mikonmäki