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- Nomad review


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Band: Darkestrah
Album: Nomad
Style: Pagan black metal
Release date: March 2024

01. Journey Through Blue Nothingness
02. Kök-Oy
03. Nomad
04. Destroyer Of Obstacles
05. Quest For The Soul
06. The Dream Of Kojojash
07. A Dream That Omens Death

What better way is there for Darkestrah to mark their return than by giving you an insight into the life of nomadic Kyrgyzstan?

Darkestrah are a pagan black metal band of Kyrgyz origin currently residing in Germany who formed back in 1999. Playing a style in the form of traditional black metal blended with epic folk, Darkestrah's themes venture into the world of shamanic paganism based around the band's cultural heritage, sharing certain similarities in style to those of Romania's Negură Bunget, Ukraine's Drudkh, and perhaps even Ireland's Primordial. Since releasing their full-length debut, titled Sary Oy, in 2004, Darkestrah have assembled quite an impressive discography, with Embrace Of Memory (2005), Epos (2007), and The Great Silk Road (2008) among the highlights.

Now, the band mark their 25-year existence by unleashing album number 7, Nomad, which is their first full-length release to feature recent additions Magus and Charuk, who joined founding member Asbath and the rest of the line-up back in 2020. So, with a revamped line-up and a return after an eight-year absence since Turan, what have Darkestrah managed to conjure up for us on Nomad? Well, this new release Nomad picks up from where the band left off, offering a spiritual journey that features verses from epic Kyrgyz poetry and traditional Central Asian folk instrumentation, alongside soaring leads and ferocious blackened tremolos. This is good news for those who admire the band's previous material, but is it enough to equal the majesty of the albums I mentioned earlier? Well, not quite, but it's certainly not far behind that level of quality.

The album begins with a brief and pleasant introduction titled "Journey Through Blue Nothingness", featuring a Central Asian acoustic melody accompanied by atmospheric monastic chanting. The album also finishes in a similar fashion with the outro "A Dream That Omens Death", but the main content of the album resides in the the 5 main tracks sandwiched between these compositions, the first of which is "Kök-Oy". This is a great opener, summing up everything there is to know about Darkestrah, from folkish melodies to hypnotic blackened tremolos, and from rhythmic tribal drumming to furious blast beats, all accompanied passionate shrieks and tortuous howls, along with haunting background chants.

From here, things carry on in similar fashion, which Darkestrah sticking to the formula that they've become so accustomed to. The next three tracks all run for over 9 minutes, including the title track, "Nomad"; its stunning folkish melodies, beautiful female chants, and hypnotic enchanting rhythm make this one of the most memorable songs featured on the album, whilst the following track "Destroyer Of Obstacles" isn't far behind, if not in memorability, then certainly for its quality. This song takes a slightly more epic approach due to the majestic synth presence, melodious mid-tempo tremolo riffs, and beautifully performed female singing. However, the opening parts of the track, with its tremolo picking, blast-beating fury, and agonizing blackened shrieks, also make it one of the most traditionally blackened songs featured here.

"Quest For The Soul", the album's longest song, is unoriginal but highly effective; the rhythm is repetitive but hypnotizing, and the symphonic choir in the background gives an epic aura. You can really lose yourself in the closing few minutes of this track, which smoothly flow into "The Dream Of Kojojash", where folk instruments effectively make their presence felt along with eerie chants and dramatic synth work.

Nomad marks a great return to form for Darkestrah; maybe this isn't their best nor most memorable record to date, but it does what is intended. The band have stayed true to themselves and remained consistent throughout their career, even after such a long gap since their previous album, and Nomad should not go unnoticed by those fond of folk/black metal.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 6
Production: 7

Written on 12.04.2024 by Feel free to share your views.


Comments: 2   Visited by: 23 users
15.04.2024 - 08:45
Rating: 8
It's not as great as the 3 albums you mentioned (+Khagan) but it's right behind them. I especially come back to Kök-Oy and Nomad.
10.05.2024 - 11:49
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
If we could westernize Kyrgyzstan it would be awesome tourists place. I like this album shamanic visions flows trough music and local folk music vibes. Now I need investigate Kyrgyzstan cusine.
I stand whit Ukraine and Israel. They have right to defend own citizens.

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I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing

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