What foul force cometh my way? Darkest Horizon? You could have asked me out on a date first! Maybe some flowers? Nay, you just swept me off my feet, took me to the local Orchestra, and decided to get all nasty about it. Bugger me, when you did, I kinda enjoyed it! The Great Mackintosh has heard his kind of shit before, but that initial punch is what a lot of bands lack these days, that being that instant minute you just wanna keep on listening, and this release has that in spades.
Sounds like, is the other call of the day. Yep. i’m so bored with explaining the differences, and similarities with other bands that yet again I’m not even gonna bother for the most part, take the time, have a listen, and see what you think. Having said that, now let’s get stuck in shall we! Epic Melodic Death Metal is how this group of chaps define themselves (or someone does anyway), and if said shoe fits, then wear it I say, and this they do very well! If you are a fan of any form of Melodic Death Metal, then of course this will appeal to you. I did say I wouldn’t compare, and I also added for the most part, because I will throw two bands your way just to whet your appetite, then leave it at that. Amon Amarth spring to mind, as does Meadow’s End..Maybe a little bit of Be’lakor too haha. There, that’s all you get.
From the opener “Omnipotence Paradox” you get the initial idea of the epic part, then that rolling drum just sucks you into the vortex that is “Aenigmata”. Vocalist Aurelius Lie possesses the deepest of growls, as you will no doubt see, but is also flexible at times, as you will also see. The chugging mental riffery of Oliver and Daniel (lead and rhythm guitars respectively) is the hook that lifts the whole game, and makes this a very hard album to not want to listen to in its entirety sheerly for the fact that you never quite know where they are going, yes this sticks to a few tried and true formulas as far as the genre goes, but at no stage does it get uninteresting. This is more like a driving force, pushing both themselves, and you the listener, ever forward.
“Enigmachina” starts off with a fairly morbid tone, albeit briefly, before that massive riff machine draws you back in and drags you along once again. This is as true a track as you will get on this album that sums Darkest Horizon up perfectly. Crushing Death over tones, matched with a superb sense of melody, with the orchestrated dynamics never becoming too overbearing, just complimenting the whole bigger scheme. This kind of thing can be off putting for the Death Metal purist, but for the more adventurous amongst you, it’s a real treat. Kudos must also go to Keyboard player extraordinaire Christian. A captivating performance on each and every number.
I may have forgotten to mention the bass player Jonas “Joey” Heinzel, and that is not an oversight on my behalf. Take “Lunar Effect” as a prime example of just how well he manages to underpin the organised mayhem around him. As solid as the Great Wall of China it’s very self one can, and will say. This is another track that after a fairly laid back start then proceeds to launch itself at you at extremely high velocity. I’m not saying this is in any way Speed Metal or any such thing, just that Darkest Horizon, as previously stated, pack one hell of a punch.
Not much more needs to be said to dissect this too much. “Cryonics” is a smashing display of guitar wizardry matched with all of the tropes that make this kind of music as loveable as it is for the true fan. “Pandora” is a slightly more laid back affair that contains an almost martial drumming style that is particularly pleasant to the ear. “Elysium” fits it’s title very well, being both ethereal and worthy of a place amongst the pantheon, and also another kick arse, take no prisoners type of number. “The Spectral Hours” contains the perfect piano piece to a song that has anything to do with the otherworldly, and being a definitely more mid paced affair. Almost ballady, but not losing any of the edge and hardness that Darkest Horizon have shown us thus far. Great stuff for sure. Closer “Catharsis for a heartbeat” bolts out of the gate straight for the eternal paddock like the finest of noble steeds, and again shows each and every aspect of just how damn talented these people are. An absolute ball tearer to close out the show with, and what a performance it has been indeed.
This album is a must have for any and all Melodic Death Metal fans, and I beg you to differ. If after you have heard “Aenigmata” you do not believe that Darkest Horizon deserve to be amongst the company of the greats, then you are either a fool, or a liar. Yes, as stated they are not breaking any conventions by any huge degree, it’s more so that they have approached this album with such flair and enthusiasm that it is almost infectious. Give it a go, see what I’m talking about for yourself!
Rating – 4/5