Review Summary: The Twilight Zone of music.
Considering the talent behind the musical force that is Darkspace, it’s not too surprising that their brand of black metal is both intriguing and successful. As many people know, Wintherr of Paysage D’Hiver plays a major role in this band, bringing his creativity and knack for writing ambient black metal to the table. The result is something like The Twilight Zone series, but in the form of music. Basically, Darkspace does for space what Paysage D’Hiver does for winter. It’s obvious the atmosphere is the selling point here, but don’t expect a lack of aggression or innovation.
Since their formation, the Switzerland black metal act have released three full length albums. The first of the bunch, “Dark Space I” is a fitting start to their career and the music is often as unique as it is sporadic. The lyrics and themes of the album deal with outer space as well as darkness and the band does a fantastic job of displaying this through their music. It’s definitely gloomy, but there is beauty beneath the pitch black wall of sound the band creates. Accompanying Wroth (Paysage D’Hiver) are fellow band members Zhaaral and Zorgh who are on guitar and bass duty, but they also provide additional scratchy vocals to the mix.
With a runtime that reaches nearly 80 minutes, “Dark Space I” is an album that takes time and patience to appreciate. Strangely, they don’t exactly have names for their songs, just numbers. Needless to say, plenty is left to the imagination as we are taken on a journey through 7 lengthy, unconventional tracks. The band uses various sound effects in addition to their exceptional guitar-work to create the feeling of space and blackness. At times, it’s hard to know what’s waiting around the corner, but at the same time the album feels undeniably coherent. There is also a surprising amount of variety in the instrumentation and I can’t help but notice the thrash elements the band uses to switch things up in songs like the creepy ‘1.2‘. If features some dialogue from 2001: A Space Odyssey which accompanies some of their most intimidating guitar-work on the album. The rest of their debut album bleeds together quite nicely, but at such a hefty length, it can be exhausting at times. Nevertheless, the album never fails in achieving its goal of creating a soundtrack to the blackest depths of outer space.
If you’re looking for a unique and atmospheric dose of black metal, you can’t go wrong with “Darkspace I.” Listening to the band’s music is not unlike entering a different dimension --one filled of icy cold air and miles of nothingness. Despite being so dark however, there are moments of beauty scattered throughout their debut album that make it more accessible and provide a satisfying contrast to the album’s harsher moments. If you’ve got the time and energy to step into the unkown, this album isn’t one you’ll soon forget. It isn’t just black metal, it’s dark space and it’s a pretty nice place to get lost in. Fans of Paysage D’Hiver will feel right at home.