Darkestrah - Sary Oy
No Colours Records
Attila The Hun Hailing Black Metal Fusion
3 songs (47:22)
Release year: 2004
No Colours Records
Reviewed by Misha
Archive review

Since I was shown a broader path to musical salvation, I’ve slowly alienated from the phenomenon that is metalhead. As a matter of fact, I’ve never been one, showing neither cliché in appearance, but always drawn to people who seemed to have similar tastes. Strangely I’m more and more confident that “metalhead” does not refer to a musical taste, but to a level of close-mindedness or how stubborn you are. Sadly this general truth surfaces in too many metal-bands, and where more than in the one genre that is more conservative than any other, that relies on tradition, repetition and dogmas, where more than in true black metal? We can speak of luck, that among all those submissive to tradition, some try to be different. I could spew out a lot of names here, because although scarce, there really are bands like this, but I’ll just mention that Darkestrah is one of them on this particular album.

So the genre they fuse with their black metal is not metal at all. It is what appears to be traditional Kyrgyz folk. Something like Shüüdüngüt’s Road seems closest in comparison, but how could it not be, as a summary of Kyrgyz folk-lore? Since this is a three song record, a song by song review is not out of place. The first of the three, Sary Oy, starts with a Kambar oriented Kumuz (a three-string fretless traditional instrument) intro, combined with some wind samples. The way in which this instrument is and sounds primitive fits the black metal half very well, and the tune continues for a while after the guitars kick in. Sadly, Darkestrah use a drum computer on this debut, which really ruins a lot of the quality for me. The reason is that the production of the computer is not attuned to that of the other instruments, so we have a raw black metal production with a perfect drum-sound. Luckly, the riffs and melodies, which are rooted firmly in the traditional aspects of the band make up for this. Might anyone have heard their previous demo, Through The Ashes Of The Shamanic Flames, this song is largely based upon the title song from that record.

The second song on this record, Jashil Oy, is something very special. It’s mainly based on one melody, which has been used before by Darkestrah on both of their previous demos, but both with a lesser production yet real drumming. Although the presence of the drum computer is still annoying, this song is of such beauty and quality, that it will make you forget that. However much stronger based on Kyrgyz music than the other songs, the sound quality is pretty high here. The emotional melody builds and fades, small variation and the vast beauty of highlands keep this song remarkably interesting until the guitars kick in after six full minutes. From there on, a different riff battles with the original melody, and traditional instruments are given a larger role. Then some more blasts, and the song fades way too early at nearly eleven minutes. This piece of music made the record, and however their later releases will prove to be much more generic black metal oriented (sad but true), there will still be shades of this forgotten glory.

Kysil Oy, the last and longest song on the records, is more in line with the first song. It turns into a Tomhet something after ten minutes but changes back after about ten more, to continue like that for another five minutes. It’s basically built around the same ideas as Sary Oy, with more riffs that are played in the typical black metal way, but are in fact embodying the folk half of this disk. However this is another original song, it doesn’t stand up to Jashil Oy.

Killing Songs :
Jashil Oy.
Misha quoted 70 / 100
Other albums by Darkestrah that we have reviewed:
Darkestrah - Turan reviewed by Alex and quoted 85 / 100
Darkestrah - Khagan reviewed by Alex and quoted 75 / 100
Darkestrah - The Great Silk Road reviewed by Alex and quoted 88 / 100
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