Monday, August 29, 2011

Darkthule - In the Sight of Dawn EP (2006)

If I can admit to some superficiality, Darkthule is a band I always would have liked to see succeed. Just something about their dark, brooding atmospheres, cool cover art and memorable logo that I find so aesthetically pleasing as to silently cross my fingers and hope that each new release would at last deliver the goods. Sadly, this has yet to come to pass, and their demos, splits, and both full-lengths have been at best underwhelming. However, I wouldn't describe any of them as actively bad, a trait that can certainly be said for their 2006 EP In the Sight of Dawn, one of the most truly lazy pieces of crude, effortless black metal you're likely to hear. I doubt much importance was placed upon it by the band, since this is another of those limited edition 7" pieces with but a pair of tracks present; but another shot has been taken in the dark, missing its target by the widest berth of their career.

No, nothing other than a pair of lamentably generic and forgettable tracks beyond the six minute range, with monotonous and repetitive riffs you've heard countless times before, or at least their very damn near likenesses. The vocals feel garbled and petulant, more of a laconic conversational rasp than any passionate pronunciations, and the note streams follow that old Transilvanian Hunger vibe, only without the same hypnotic effect the Norwegians were going for. The drums are immensely tinny, hurried along beneath the dire melodic chord sequences, and not a single compelling guitar riff manifests anywhere. "In the Sight of Dawn..." is marginally less irritating than "The Greatness of Gods", if only because it has a slower tempo mixed into its incendiary, numbing blast work. The production of the EP is inferior even to the previous Revolution of Souls, which was honestly a pair of half-decent tracks. Perhaps the most raw and unassuming recording since the band's demos.

It's a pity, because I really want to like this stuff. The cover is once again appealing, and I like the ideal of these duo-tone, rustic images out of folklore and history. A sole wanderer gazing upon some natural edifice, some bubbling brook, waterfall, or wild beast. The isolated aesthetic may in fact be captured through the distant tone of the music here, but that doesn't make it any more interesting due to its strictly uninspiring level of composition. I'd be surprised if Darkthule couldn't knock out dozens of such tracks in a week, because there is just nothing to this droning waste of dead-horse beating. Surely they are capable of so much more, but will we ever get to hear it?

Verdict: Fail [4.75/10]

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