DarkSpace – II

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One decade after launching their fourth studio album “Dark Space III I", the Swiss atmospheric/ambient black metal voyagers DarkSpace return for another cosmic odyssey, crafted by the trio Wroth (Paysage d'Hiver), Zhaaral (Sun of the Blind), and Yhs. DarkSpace inked an international deal with Season of Mist last year with the announcement that a new material was in the work. The fifth album "Dark Space -II" is a vivid sonic adventure combining chugging grooves, electronic drums, and spacey-driven riffs scattered like mercurial droplets.

Judging from the previous albums, there might be a little what you fancy in this release, though the recording isn’t exactly considered lo-fi black metal. The fifth album comprises one single track extended to over 45 minutes, however, the vocals this time are very similar to Paysage d’Hiver’s screeching style. The keyboards are atmospheric and open vast spaces that allow the riffs and the simple drum machine to navigate. The one track on this release, “Dark Space 2.-2”, begins with electronic sounds mimicking a transmission from the vast oceanic space.

The tempo of the music overall varies from mid-paced to slower, with atmospheric keyboards adding layers to the screeching of Wroth. There seems to be a constant flow of the instrumentation in drawing the cold industrial sound that makes the music so eerily cold. Though this isn’t necessarily an evolution from these Swiss musicians and unlike the preceding albums of DarkSpace, this is merely an initiation to what we might foresee from the band soon.

The composition is mainly stripped down to utilize the drum machine, as they only create a surrealistic atmosphere in favor of the riffs. The trio hardly ventures into any fast tempos, and the music is devoid of anything that DarkSpace has offered in the past. Despite the slow-burn music, the lethargic strumming of the guitars and the simplistic drum machine beats are consistent. The vocals are like a wraith and have the quality to capture your attention while emphasizing the synth’s menacing surroundings. In addition to the growing suspense is the ability to integrate all these elements into one engrossing musical session. The sound effects and the samples enhance the experience, providing the listener with vivid synth passages.

As an entity, DarkSpace has evolved from past studio albums and though I am not a fan of lo-fi black metal it seems that the sound recording and mixing are very audible, especially the exotic usage of the synth and the spoken samples. The composition is very concise and beautifully orchestrated by the trio, and very easy to delve into the contents of the music. The riffing is very much in the style of DarkSpace where you get bombarded by focused chugging grooves and also the riffing is of high quality.

There are few intervals in the track itself, but I would say the final 20 minutes truly portray the essence of the cosmic themes style of black metal. DarkSpace conveys a harrowing and menacing piece of space sonic art, leaving you contemplating the deep purple sky dome amidst a myriad of star beams and floating planets. The sonic landscape seems to take new directions and metamorphosis into a mysterious sinister dimension of the universe, all the elements from the ghost-like screeching to the bouncy bass guitar, and the passive strumming of the guitar riffs, manage to encapsulate the entire sound in an ethereal sense of motion.

Undoubtedly the music here does not pertain to the style of Paysage d’Hiver and that’s due to the simplistic riffing and the focus on creating chilling otherworldly effects. Unlike bands like Limbonic Art or Arkhtinn, the composition of DarkSpace is quite spacey. Arguably, this is the album where the Swiss trio concentrates on synth and industrial noise. Otherwise, the final 15 minutes have some changing riffs, as it slowly sucks you deep into the lifeless void and lures you into the grimy drum machine, screeching vocals, and ambient synth sections, and it is well executed.

However, the slow march of the chugging guitars and the drum machine reminds me of the Swiss industrial metal band Samael. The final moments are crucial in utilizing the atmosphere, and it gives you an understanding of the unique composition, the music simply ventures through a variety of climaxes without the aid of the blast beats.

Fuzzy blackened riffs add to this cosmic odyssey that imprints breathtaking computer graphics, and this is what DarkSpace intends to create in its fifth album. From the 8th minute to the closing moments the music takes you to hostile alien spheres, the riffs and the screeching get frightening then settles down into the growing display of ultra-fused atmospheric black metal majesty.


  • Music / Songwriting 8/10
  • Vocals / Lyrics 8/10
  • Mix / Production 8/10
  • Artwork & Packaging 8/10
  • Originality 8/10

“Dark Space – II” explores new sonic grounds, it is fascinating and engrossing how the Swiss trio have reached to layer their sound with such depth and grandiosity.

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