I'm a big fan of music which captures the spirit of the cosmos, the universe and of space in general - My review of Ixion, earlier this year probably put-across that impression fairly thoroughly. While Ixion played doom-metal, Darkspace play black-metal, and one only has to notice that Dark space III has a running time of over 79 minutes to come to the conclusion that it's ambitious black-metal on a vast, you might say cosmic scale. In a word, the album is immersive. Keyboards are used extensively throughout the songs, weaving a vast and eye-opening atmosphere - the scintillating hue of the cosmos, of nebulae and the glowing light of stars , with the blazing intensity which black-metal can often create, brought right to the listeners fingertips as they listen. It's not the kind of album which allows you to treat it as background music - even while writing this review, the music slowly rises through to the tip of my concious and demands to be listened to properly, which leads me on to an observation; the album has a lot going on in it, even for it's length. The songs manage to find an interesting mid-ground between being pleasantly hypnotic and dynamic, and one which is very enjoyable to listen to. On one hand, similar guitar work can be occurring for large-fractions of minutes at a time, but this is juxtaposed with the intricacy with which a lot of the music is composed - there is not a single hint of lazy composition through the record, and even when a superficially similar section has been hypnotising the listener for a while, the subtle changes lying just beneath the surface cause it to remain fresh, as the music slowly transforms.
Likewise, there is a noteworthy level of variation in the musical-leanings - suffice to say, the album is far more than a collection of synth-augmented tremolos - it's a varied and multi-influence-inspired journey, with everything from chunky, energetic riffs right through to doom-like sections which have a gorgeous slow-motion intensity, perhaps appropriately, like spinning in zero-gravity, in the vastness of space. There's an interesting meeting of the scathing tone, as raw as that of conventional black-metal, meeting with the superb richness of the bands atmosphere, both in the form of synth and the bright, reverb-laden lead-guitar tone. The overall tone of the album, in fact, does a great job of reconciling the rawness and richness of what the black-metal sound can accomplish when well-thought-out, which I can safely say that "well thought out" is something which the album seems to be. It's the sort of album which, despite the songs mainly being in excess of eleven-minutes, you don't often feel like you are impatiently waiting for the next song, but instead, speaking for myself, I was infinitely satisfied to watch the music as it occurred - there's a certain liminality to Dark space III, which I think takes it to the high-ranks of atmospheric metal in general - the album begins, the album ends - and what happens in between manages to be very profound, introspective and exciting. The album is beautiful, certainly, but it also enveloped me as a listener, leaving me in a place which feels a little apart from the place I go when I listen to your average album, in a good way - then again, this isn't an average album.
As I said, I love music which conjures up the cosmos, and indeed, I've enjoyed atmospheric black-metal for a long time - combine the two, and you can consider me hooked immediately, and that's what I am. Dark Space III is among the best black metal albums I've listened to this month, and as a band, I expect Darkspace will be among my favourite discoveries of 2013. Based on how much music I can't wait to get around to listening to, that's a hotly contested place.
This is a 10/10 album - the first of the year.
Darkspace Official Site
Darkspace on Metal Archives