Dark Ages - _Choirs of Damnation_
(, 2007)
by: Alexandra Erickson (7 out of 10)
I have a pretty good feeling about Dark Ages. If _Choirs of Damnation_ is a sign of their capabilities as black metal hellions, big things are brewing. It takes a lot for me to really stop and listen, but there's something mired in this release that is promising. They've honed clean black metal vocals (oxymoronic? no). They shred and wail to an almost thrash degree at points, but still keep up with the spirit of impending annihilation.

With a discordant intro and a harmonious outro, and three tracks giving weight to the release sandwiched between, _Choirs of Damnation_ flows masterfully. Tearing straight into "Under the Banner of Death", earlier Dissection comes to mind. I don't like saying Dissection because the band gets pinned down in every review as sounding similar, but there's a reason for it. Carrying straight into "Storms in Heaven", a faster, utterly melodic but so hatefully black metal six and a half minute track is serious business. Sweeping into the title track, I can't help but be reminded of Hecate Enthroned. It brings out that melodic quality, that almost epic tinge that well mixed and produced harmonious black metal has. It's a far stride from the grimmest and rawest black metal you can throw out there, but you can feel the influences running deep in Dark Ages. _Choirs of Damnation_ pays homage to those roots and does it well while still standing out as a unique band.

Running the gambit, this release climbs from very Swedish melodies to Bay Area riffage and back down into the dark recesses of Norwegian grim. I'm impressed with their ability to tie it all together and somehow manage to make it natural. They've got this sound down and I'm interested to see how their future releases evolve. But in the meantime, enjoy _Choirs of Damnation_. It's a good one.

Contact: http://darkages.eu.tt/

(article published 6/4/2008)


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