Everlasting Dark - Return to darkness 4/5
2. Scales of death
3. Return to darkness
4. The farewell
7. Tears of heaven
8. Gleam of hope
Everlasting Dark is a symphonic gothic/doom metal band from the Czech Republic and this is their debut studio CD. Most of the songs feature a flowing, lightly progressive interplay of several styles of metal. The predominant style is catchy mid-paced gothic metal with festive violin or clean guitar melodies; these passages often speed up into epic, busy, lightly rocking symphonic gothic metal; about half the songs also contain heavy symphonic doom passages, and there is an occasional acoustic ballad passage as well. The guitars are a nice mix of clean and crunchy rhythm with most of the heaviness coming from the bass and drums. Even the symphonic passages seem to be driven more by the violin than the keys, and there are some excellent folk melodies to be found in the festive passages.
Their female vocalist, Hana Vajčnerová, is certainly one of the most versatile singers I’ve ever heard. She primarily sings with a rich, somber, earnest alto style which is quite unlike that of any other female singer I’m aware of in metal; it gives even the most festive passages a certain dramatic seriousness that almost seems out of place, yet the contrast is surprisingly engaging. Although an acquired taste, I have found her style to be more and more appealing as I have continued to listen to the CD. Her other style, which really sounds like a completely different vocalist (indeed, I had to actually confirm with the band that they do not have 2 different female vocalists singing on ‘Return to darkness’) is a familiar yet enchantingly beautiful soaring soprano. There are also occasional smooth death vocals and even more occasional deep clean gothic ones.
Although this is Everlasting Dark’s debut studio CD they are not newcomers to the metal scene. They have 3 demos starting from 1999 and their 2007 demo, ‘Lygophobia’, could easily have been released as a studio CD. Their experience really shows in the songwriting as ‘Return to darkness’ is quite an ambitious CD; not only does it feature several different styles of gothic and doom metal in just about every song, but there is very little repetition within the songs. Although any passage you select in the CD is accessible and more often than not quite catchy, the song structures are very diverse with frequent time and tempo changes in the melodies, making this a CD that can only be fully appreciated after at least several listens. It is highly recommended for fans of these genres who enjoy a little more challenging listen than the ordinary.
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