Darkest Era have solidified themselves into a moreish and highly satisfying live band. They’ve invested in themselves, with a couple of Les Pauls, good amps, and time well spent in the practise room reaping obvious and very visual rewards. Since their last demo under the Nemesis banner, they’ve clearly had a think about who they want to be, and who they want to sound like.
Which is Primordial. Although dwelling unabashedly within the idiom of trad and folk metal, it’s abundantly clear that they’re upping their game to bask in the reflected glory of the country’s best. That’s not a criticism by the way: the pay offs have been huge. Production wise, the band have clearly striven to the nth degree to get more or less the same sort of Mags style sound seen on the mid period Primordial output. Plus they can recreate it live too.
The only weak link here are the vocals. Guitars and drums are exceptionally tight, referencing the kind of clicking gallop and riffery that Mael Mordha have made their own. The vocals however are somewhere odd in the mix, nether forward nor backward. They too are straining for Primordial’s newfound epic displays of emotion, yet lack the essential variety and intelligence. Their forbears have subtlely, intellect and heartfelt delivert. Darkest Era, at this stage, just have the breast beating.
That should change though. The music is down tight as hell, and the tunes have atmosphere and staying power. If the singer could use more harmonies, move around a bit instead of staying in his immediate range and apply the kind of detailed consideration that has benefited the music so much since last time, a real band will be born. It’s the only stumbling block at present. Overall however, it’s a demo of surprising, even surpassing, quality.
– Earl Grey ::: 31/03/08