Friday, 16 March 2018

Darkstorm - The Oath of Fire

DARKSTORM - The Oath of Fire (PUTRID CULT - CD 2017)
I have to say that I didn't think this CD will be anything good. It was just a feeling I had about this band and this album, based on nothing really. I never even had a chance to hear Darkstorm before. And they did two albums prior to this one: "The Black Stone" (1996) and "The Mandate of Metal" (2015). "The Oath of Fire" is from 2017, and for this album the leader Lord Darkstorm was joined by Wened (from Venedae infame). But how surprised I was to notice that it's actually pretty decent album. Even more surprising was to hear such kind of music, so far from the common black metal that comes from these shores. But maybe this is why I liked it more than I expected. 
"The Oath of Fire" is quite interesting take on the early black metal records. Think of the first wave here, which starts from Mercyful Fate, Running Wild debut, Sodom, Bathory, Tormentor and the likes. The music is black metal with heavy metal influence, quite melodic, not so much aggressive, but with some great epic parts here and there, which I think are the strongest aspect of Darkstorm music. It all has slightly primitive feel, the performance is a bit sloppy sometimes, but it doesn't disturb so much and my reception of Darkstorm music is just positive. I like many riffs, ideas and arrangements, some songs are just great like "The Guardian of Heavy Metal" and generally this music is just very pleasant to listen to, like "The Quest of the Ancients" for instance. And "Song of Ice and Fire"!!! It truly is fantastic epic anthem inspired by the best viking-era Bathory from "Twilight of the Gods". It also reminds me Sleipnir, band, which clearly takes many similar influences as Darkstorm. I have to say also that the vocals do a great job here. Lord Darkstorm came up with all sort of vocal styles, from clean, choral singing, through high pitched screams and harsh, raspy voice, and there are even some little successful (haha!) King Diamond-like falsettos. Take a listen to the mentioned "The Guardian of Heavy Metal", with this nice sounding clean vocal style (again reminding me also Sleipnir from UK). 
The album is quite uneven, because there are some great songs, but maybe one or two are a bit less interesting ("The Hellfire Club" for instance), especially towards the end of the album. Yet they're fitting the whole concept of epic and harsh black / heavy metal, which Darkstorm took for "The Oath of Fire", so it's not a problem really. All in all, I think it's good and surprising album, one which I never expected to hear. One could put it aside to Malokarpatan, but let's not exaggerate or mix these two bands. You should know the general concept and style for "The Oath of Fire", I can only add that this album is better than I expected and I liked it. Good surprise, good listen, an album worth checking out.  
Standout tracks: "The Guardian of Heavy Metal", "Song of Ice and Fire", "The Quest of the Ancients" 
Verdict: 70/100 

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