Slytherin
When the Darkness Comes


3.5
great

Review

by Robert Garland CONTRIBUTOR (359 Reviews)
January 21st, 2021 | 79 replies


Release Date: 01/04/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Fuck up Ronald - Gandalf the Grey

In the world of fantasy inspired albums, a clear favourite comes in the form of Tolkien-ism's, namely in the vein of Summoning, Minas Morgul...yeah, you get the picture - especially in the world of black metal. Sometimes however, musicians step outside of these references with mixed, often forgettable results mixing up good intentions with eternal fandom. The problem largely comes in the form of media. Which series do musicians immerse themselves in, taking stories and lore while shaping them into a pleasing aural rendition of themselves? Do they take an already established, set in stone idea or do they take the wild and free, inserting their own artistic licences into a scene that didn’t ask for it? Are these stories strong enough to translate to music or should we just leave them the fuck alone? These dilemmas, these choices define the project and in turn gauge the overall end products success (or lack thereof). Enter California’s Slytherin, who construct black metal compositions based solely on J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.

Wait! Don’t go.

There’s a chance I’ve probably lost some of my readers by now, but let’s face it - the band’s name is Slytherin...you’re already lined up, bought the tickets and donned an ugly hat...let’s see where this exhibit goes.

Butterbeer in hand, Slytherin takes us on a darker journey through Potter-lore - namely that of Voldemort, The Deathly Hallows and the secret love of one Severus Snape. It’s a journey that takes the listener on a journey of sorts and yet, somehow misses the clear cheesiness one would expect from a fantasy novel turned audiophile. A short introduction foreshadows “The Tale Of The Three Brothers”, and while the Hermione Granger read tale prefaces a world of cringe, there’s a sensible displacement of cheese utilising a down to earth build. The atmosphere relies on a whimsical, almost dreamy transposition of synth and black metal aesthetic. Kind of like listening to a raw black metal album...that isn’t “raw”. Simple melodies permeate through the speakers, coupled with phrased shrieks and clear synth work. It’s a feature that dominates the most part of the Slytherin soundscape allowing the music to ebb and flow naturally, without forcing the point or contextual motif. It’s this belated subtlety that carries the listener from one end to the other. When the Darkness Comes enjoys this strong start without battering those who would embrace where this story will go.

As the record continues, strong themes interject themselves throughout the album, and still, the main melodic hook from the album’s earlier moments punches through the mix, providing the album's essential body with much needed backbone. By the time we reach the likes of “Wizards and Muggles”, which juxtaposes the apparent contrasts between the two societies, bringing wrath and conflict in tune with black metal dissonance and moments of tranquil bliss as the two communities settle into their own unknowing sectors. Slytherin keeps much of the same compositional themes as When the Darkness Comes moves into its latter half. “Forbidden Forest” and “The Secret Of Bellatrix Lestrange” maintains the clear minor tones befitting the rather obvious atmosphere the album presents but it’s the nuance and gravitas of “True Love Of Severus Snape” that bridges the gaps between written context (namely, the story authored by that J.K. Rowling person) and the audio transference to which When the Darkness Comes relies on. Despite the subtly inserted song-writing and synth led nuance a casual listener could be forgiven for thinking that Slytherin’s sophomore full-length is too similar, too one dimensional and largely, I’d agree. If not for the context given outside of the band, the context written and released to a world over When the Darkness Comes would not have the same hold. Sure, it’s passable enough by itself but without the central Harry Potter themes the album is reduced to ringing synthesizers and a-typical black metal aesthetic.

Given that black metal itself draws inspiration from just about any theme, fantasy works included, it’s a light cop-out to write When the Darkness Comes off for what it is without it. Despite this obvious criticism, it’s difficult to separate one from the other contextually without robbing Slytherin from their achievements here. To put it shortly; When the Darkness Comes is a success, albeit not a greatly memorable one. When compared to other similar acts (like those who take Tolkien for inspiration) Slytherin doesn’t immediately fall short musically, a listener (given the right frame of mind) could close their eyes, and find themselves immersed in a world of Potter-core, standing in the Forbidden Forest as wind and (were)wolf-howls soar past. Although a stiff mead wouldn't hurt.



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user ratings (17)
3.1
good


Comments:Add a Comment 
Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
January 21st 2021


13520 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Dewi made me do it.



Listening via bandcamp here: https://slytherin-black.bandcamp.com/album/when-the-darkness-comes

Digging: Stargazer (AUS) - Psychic Secretions

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
January 21st 2021


23658 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Hahaha, between this and Ancient Mastery I'm entering into a very interesting dungeon synth / BM phase. This one is honestly great, lots of pretty melodies.



And here's a confession. I made you do it cause I haven't watched/read anything from the Potter ;)



Goes without saying, but great read brother, thanks!

Digging: Lost Horizons - In Quiet Moments

zelenichajnik
January 21st 2021


446 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

I'm holding out for Dark Materials bm, if it doesn't already exist. I'm sure someone could weave some quality stuff outta that.



'Given that black metal itself draws inspiration from just about any theme, fantasy works included, it’s a light cop-out to write When the Darkness Comes off for what it is without it.' - yeah, my kneejerk was to roll my eyes but this statement is pretty true. Nice review, actually came away from it with an open mind. And guess what? A Tale of Three Brothers ain't so bad (minus that spoken word, but hey, there's no way we were escaping that). Hopefully the rest holds up.

Digging: Tim Reaper - Teletext EP

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
January 21st 2021


13520 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

--(minus that spoken word, but hey, there's no way we were escaping that)--



There's a little more of that in the Mavolo Riddle track but it's lightly peppered it doesn't take too much away from what they're doing. All in all, really well put together.

zelenichajnik
January 21st 2021


446 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Ah, yeah I just reached that. Fortunately, the synths afterwards are LOVELY. This is reeeeeeeally solid so far for a doomier (read: slower) atmoblack release.

dedex
Contributing Reviewer
January 21st 2021


7000 Comments


this sounds cool and weird i might jam

just found this lil typo: "like those who take Tolkein for inspiration" in the last para

Digging: A Day to Remember - You're Welcome

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
January 21st 2021


13520 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It's really the melodies that drive this tbh



oh shit, nice eyes dede : ]

JesperL
Contributing Reviewer
January 21st 2021


2531 Comments


daddy gandalf
great stuff (the review, not the album haha), i'd say that 'To put it short..' short = shortly or replace it w 'in short'

Digging: Bathe Alone - Last Looks

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
January 21st 2021


15655 Comments


I'm a Slytherin-ish kind of guy, so I'll have to check this out.
Nice writing mate ;)

Digging: Evergrey - Escape of the Phoenix

zelenichajnik
January 21st 2021


446 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

ngl i'm 7 tracks in and while these melodies are still nice, i could really use a pacing changeup at this point

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
January 21st 2021


13520 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

--(the review, not the album haha)--



Quit pretending Potter-core isn't for you

JesperL
Contributing Reviewer
January 21st 2021


2531 Comments


sorry, my preference goes out to baby yoda inspired nu metalcore

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
January 21st 2021


13520 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

--i could really use a pacing changeup at this point--



I know this doesn't really help but I guess I'm lucky I've already got so much 2021 music to listen to, so even when I listen to an album like this repeatedly there's always something to break the routine.

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
January 21st 2021


13520 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

--my preference goes out to baby yoda inspired nu metalcore--



hang on, be a sec to see what I can find.





....what about space-yoda-jazz?

garas
Contributing Reviewer
January 21st 2021


5680 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

"I'm entering into a very interesting dungeon synth / BM phase."

YES!!!

Digging: Taake / Helheim - Henholdsvis

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
January 21st 2021


23658 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Feed me garas.



(Meaning keep me posted of good shit along the year)

garas
Contributing Reviewer
January 21st 2021


5680 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Will do! ;]

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
January 21st 2021


13520 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I like where this Dewi is going.

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
January 21st 2021


23658 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

You've all corrupted me (or saved me depending on the angle)

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
January 21st 2021


13520 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Definitely saved, saved you from corrupting saviours



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