Review Summary: A unique and demanding trek across musical landscapes you swear you've traversed before but find yourself lost in, and blissfully so.
Creating an experience that both tells a story and at the same time lets your mind wander, summoning a specific set of emotions that are rendered mostly inexplicable when one seeks words to describe them sounds nearly impossible. But that's exactly what Darkflight has done. This is the album the band has been working themselves up to since they started out, making its title all the more appropriate.
Closure starts off with a slow motion explosion of atmospheric synth, gritty, downtuned angry guitar, and even angrier screams. You feel shoved backward, then overwhelmed by the breadth of instrumentation, but its all pulled back in time to let you take it in (or try to) before another wave comes, bigger than the last. Worse Things Than Dying builds, retreats, back-builds, and retreats again, and then before you find what you're feeling, its on to the next track.
Dual guitars are layered in such a way that it often sounds like they are echoes of each other, but there are almost always two distinct melodies to listen for at any given time. Orchestral elements are present throughout, and occasionally feature; their main purpose however is to act as a catalyst, bringing scope and presence to the core instruments rather than seeking to overtake them. The vocals are perfectly interspersed, breaking up the spiraling rhythm of riffage and rumbling drums akin to a swimmer in a desperate race to shore, turning his head for those crucial breaths. The bass is simple and steady, a nearly smothered but still perceptible guide that often allows streches of songs that seem to be panning out too far to stay afloat. Combined with soft, uncomplicated touches of piano and atmospherics that range from synth swells to crows cawing and rain battering a dilapidated shelter, its all almost too much.
And yet the length of the songs combined with an overall slow pace, and softer quieter sections that are positioned just where they need to be and that leap back into those powerful dueling melodies capture your attention over and over. Sparse bits of spoken word break up the tortured cries and an occasional bassline feature form a seemingly complete picture that is still and always hiding something you can't quite put your finger on. By the time Monument of Sadness hurls you into a burning bright light only hinted at before, you realize that there is more content, both in the song structures and in the emotional content of each track, and the album as a whole, than you could ever grasp with just a few playtroughs.
This is something meant to be explored many times and appreciated on many levels, for reasons limited only by your imagination. Whether or not this transcends genres, or destroys conventions can be left for the purists to decide. You could argue that the spoken word is in poor taste, or that some of the synthesized elements are overdone, but that's nitpicking at imperfections in the presentation of the dish rather than just taking a bite with your eyes closed and focusing on the depressing, delectable symphony of flavors Darkflight has concocted. Every time you listen, your experience will change and it is this inherent adaptation to your surroundings and your mood that makes this album a unique and demanding trek across musical landscapes you swear you've traversed before but find yourself lost in, and blissfully so.