Review Summary: New Darkspace meets old Darkspace.
Darkspace return after 3 years with their expected album Dark Space III, with all song names and the title following the trend of their the first three releases. Titles are simple numbers that give you the album number and the track number in the title. Covers are minimal with a small ambiguous picture of outer space giving a bit of a creative guide to the listener. Booklets are empty, cds feature a pentagram etched on them, and the back simply has a very small tracklisting written on the back. Clearly Darkspace are still a band that put most of their creative focus into their music, and while III is not anything unexpected it is an excellent album nonetheless.
The music of Darkspace here is a blend of the first two albums. The heavy rhythmic palm muting riffs of the first album that almost gave a death metal touch are back after being put aside for II. The huge airy and open keyboard sounds of two are also back, and the III almost feels as if it is the best of the first two albums blended together. The songs are all very long, but this time the music is as varied as ever for Darkspace standards.
One of the key things that Darkspace do are create a wall of sound rather than distinct riffs and melodies. This is effective because you don't notice repeats or reoccurring structures which makes the music flow very organically. The mix is also very organic, including a good amount of distortion on the guitars bass and vocals. The drumming is still being handled by a computer and I think the synth is also programmed as it is rarely actually playing anything melodic. The synth creates moods and bursts of sound which work extremely effectively. Either they give a very empty hallow and airy sound to back samples like in 3.16, or they work to make a huge burst of sound to create a climax to a build up section, as in 3.17.
The guitars and bass are one of the most interesting things about Darkspace. As in Paysage d'Hiver I cannot tell what is being played at all. Some may be turned off by the overly harsh sound that the over-distorted guitars create, but personally love this distorted and full sound paired with the emty synths, unintelligible structures, and huge song lengths. The whole result ends nicely in a very bleak and empty vision of the far ends of space if the listener wishes to immerse himself in the music. The palm muted chords in the guitars detract from this feeling a bit, and instead substitute a bit of uneasiness and chaos into the mix.
The album is really the best of the first two albums. It takes the long airy passages of II and mixes then with the rhythmic Death Metal riffing of I. To all fans of empty, repetitive, ambient, and noisy music, I would recommend this to you. Darkspace is really more about understanding the feeling the members want you to get (which is the bands title, the concept of Dark Space) than listening to the musical aspects of the album, and it is the most effective album Darkspace have made to date in achieving this goal.