- 1.Gift of Mud and Venom10:33
- 2.The Warrior Poet07:11
- 3.Broken Wheel03:37
Darkestrah is a band consisting of six members and they originally come from Kyrgyzstan, though they are now located in Germany. Although they are around since 1999 and they have released six full lengths and numerous other releases, through labels as No Colours Records or Osmose Productions, I have to admit that Chong Aryk is the first time I get in touch with their music. This is an EP recorded during February and May of 2020 and it was released the 2nd of December of 2021 in digital and in CD format limited to 300 copies. It contains three songs, two new compositions of the band and their version of the song ‘Khartai Sarlag’ by the Mongolian folk Rock band, Domog, with overall duration of about twenty two minutes. If you haven’t listened to any of their releases before, as i do, by observing the really impressive cover of their album and trying to interpret what you are about to listen, you are going to fail. However, by the first minute you know exactly what is going on here.
So, Darkestrah present a very nice example of pessimistic, even depressive, cold and hateful Epic Black Metal with a few Folk references. The riffs are melodic and very cold, creating pessimistic feelings to the listener with some hateful touches with their faster ones. The tempo of the album is mainly of slow to medium speed, while there are a few fast and violent outburst that make the compositions more versatile. The use of not common instruments is a very interesting element, they are listed in the cd but i don’t even know which is which. The rhythms and the melodies of these instruments add a very unique aura and presenting elements of a different culture, making the final result even more interesting. The first two compositions of the band, are quite long in duration, eight and eleven minutes, while the final track lasts for four minutes. The structure of the tracks, although there are some parts that the band becomes quite repetitive, in general is good, with enough variation regarding the melodies and the rhythms, as also the different instruments that take the lead in various parts.
As about the band’s performance, every instrument is delivered professionally, with accuracy and passion. The guitar is the instrument that plays the leading role and along with the various unusual instruments, set the atmosphere and the unique scenery. Their performance is perfect both regarding the musicians delivery but also their passion and expression. The vocals is the other part of the album that stands out for their quality. The vocalist delivers a harsh, howling and quite deep Black Metal voice, full of pessimistic sentiments and hatred, fits perfectly to the music. The bass has simple and nice lines and supports the compositions well. The drums are stable and passionate, although sometimes their lines are predictable, they are interesting with enough variety. The production is clean, bassy and warm, not exactly what i would expect for the style of Darkestrah but it is acceptable. The mixture is balanced, something difficult to achieve between electric and acoustic instruments, but they have managed to successfully deliver a very good result. The lyrics are not contained in the cd, they are written in English and I don’t know what they are about.
In conclusion, I think that Chong Aryk is a good release both for the old fans of the band but also for the people who listens to Darkestrah music for the first time. For the old ones, the band here gives information on how the entire project will move into the future, as half of their members are new ones. For the new listeners, this is a great example of their abilities and music, so that you begin to search their entire discography. My favorite song is Gift of Mud and Venom. All of you who like cold, mid tempo Black Metal with Epic and Folk elements, should listen to this.