Darkness Eternal - Misanthropic Annihilation
Autopsy Kitchen Records
Death Metal
9 songs (56'41)
Release year: 2005
Darkness Eternal, Autopsy Kitchen Records
Reviewed by Crims

Darkness Eternal is a one-man band solely consisting of George Velaetis who does, well, everything in the band including playing drums (no drum machine here). Velaetis has spent time, on and off, as a session member for the Death Metal band The Chasm (who are an excellent band by the way) but this, Darkness Eternal, is entirely his own creation. Misanthropic Annihilation is actually the third release but the first I’ve been exposed to so I cannot comment on earlier work. Naturally, I can comment on this release though, and I think I can sum it up in one word: brilliant!

So what makes this CD stand out amongst the throngs of Extreme Metal CD's being released? It’s a number of things and cannot be pin-pointed to one specific aspect of the music. One could call this Death Metal but after only a few songs it is clear to me there is a heavy dose of Doom Metal and Black Metal mixed in for good measure. So let’s talk about the Death Metal influences first. The style of riffing mainly stays in the Immolation camp and does not venture far from the off-beat, hypnotic, and atmosphere inducing riffs that Immolation helped make famous. Given that the music takes on a progressive, atmosphere heavy mood and context, this works out really well. In between the Death Metal riffs there are slowed down, plodding moments of Doom. It is true that the aforementioned style of Death Metal riffing lends itself well, and seamlessly I might add, to Doom Metal (just look at Incantation). What I liked most about the Doom Metal or just simply the slow sections is they are there to further enhance the mood and atmosphere of the music. Never once did I just want the Death Metal to return, because everything, musically, played a part in the song structure. Lastly, Black Metal plays a part as tremolo styled riffs can be heard either as a lead-in to more traditional Death Metal riffing or a theme that certain songs can be built around; the best example is the track, Darkness Conquers All.

The song structures are masterfully crafted as each tempo change and riff change builds on an ever imposing dark and haunting atmosphere that remains consistent, but the brilliant part is how completely different tempos and riff styles maintain that atmosphere. Darkness Eternal might be a gimmicky name to some but it sums up the feel of the music perfectly. I also have to mention some excellent vocal work. It might be expected that the vocals may be an after-thought with the music taking precedence; but this is not the case. There are not many moments where there is not some vocal work being done. The vocal style of Velaetis comes across as an intelligently done traditional Death Metal delivery with some easily understood vocal lines. I’m actually reminded a little bit of the more understandable moments of Nile’s music from a vocal perspective. Taking a cue from Glen Benton there are many instances of two vocal tracks, the second being more of a high pitched version of the typically deep vocals. The use of the two vocal tracks to accentuate adds lot of dynamics to the music and insures the vocals remain interesting and not one-dimensional. After all, if the vocals were mono-tone it would disrupt the ever-changing music; instead we are treated to a vocal performance that is in-line with some of the better performances from Benton and Corpsegrinder (when he was in Monstrosity). The production also lends itself very well to the music. Everything is mixed well and it feels like a really well-produced early 90’s Death Metal release. There is enough of a raw factor to enhance the atmosphere without making the CD sound like it was recorded through a boot or tin can. What’s also great is that the drums sound real and the technical break-downs and blasts are loud enough to appreciate but not overpower the guitars or vocals.

Considering Darkness Eternal is one person writing and performing this music makes the overall result all the more impressive. Sure, the drumming is occasionally sloppy but there’s a lot of you, including me, who feel slightly sloppy playing is a good thing on occasion. If I wanted supreme and flawless musicianship I’d go listen to Spastic Ink or Spiral Architect. As it stands the Doom Metal leads, tremolo riffing, and various Death Metal styles all blend together to create a mesmerizing and unique listening experience. This CD is not for everyone, and I must stress this. If you want the type of Death Metal that bludgeons you over the head with every passing second go listen to the new Deicide or any Blood Red Throne release. If you’re the type of listener who occasionally, or perhaps always, wants something that is just a little different than the norm I can highly recommend this CD to you. This release came highly recommended to me by seasoned and some times hard-headed Death Metal listeners (which I can be as well) and I have to say by the second listen I was hooked. Admittedly I was not convinced after just one-listen but as I gave the CD time to sink in I was impressed by the subtle complexity and overall feel the music gave off. I made one half of an analogy a few reviews ago whereby I stated the latest release from Chrome Division is the type of music you put on as back ground music and is not something that you put on your head phones for to pick out every detail and fully expose yourself too. Well, Misanthropic Annihilation, as you probably guessed, is the latter. As background music it might sound plodding, with not enough “head banging” moments, but as you give the music its full attention I feel most listeners will appreciate the atmosphere the music evokes. I thus highly recommend this CD and I hope that if you give it a try you enjoy it as much as I and others have… however, as was already stated: this is not for everyone.

Killing Songs :
Cold...End...Dead, Darkness Conquers All, Unholy Trinity, Thy Will Be Done
Crims quoted 88 / 100
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