Darzamat - Solfernus’ Path
Massacre Records
Gothic Metal
14 songs (42:33)
Release year: 2009
Darzamat, Massacre Records
Reviewed by Goat

Although I had heard of Darzamat before writing this review, it was (as I admitted to the forumite who requested this review) as much due to the beauty of their female vocalist as it was the merits of the Polish collective’s music. Being fair to myself, Agnieska “Nera” Górecka is extremely pretty, but being fair to the band there’s much more to them than pictures of their frontwoman. At first, they seem to play the sort of Gothic malarkey that’s ten a penny these days, Cradle Of Filth clones in all but name, but give their music time and the intelligence behind it becomes more obvious. Songs are complex, weaving together Nera’s light female trills and Flauros’ male growls (somewhere between Dani Filth and Angela Gossow) without letting them take over the music completely.

Fine, it is sort of like Cradle Of Filth, but there’s a certain special sort of Euro Goth Metal feel to it that elevates it, especially when Nera’s doing her thing and the subtle backing orchestration gives everything an epic sheen. Said classical elements are an important part of Darzamat’s sound but they’re always kept underfoot, the Metal elements definitely being most important. Vote For Heresy is an enjoyable modern slice of riffage, for example, given room to breathe and bring in the female vocals and orchestration to keep the variety going – and if there’s one thing you can say for Solfernus’ Path, it’s that it’s varied but keeps it tight and together. Whilst Pain Collector will have you moshing like a twelve year old at a Slipknot gig, the Blackened Final Conjuration pumps up the epic elements of the band’s sound and goes for the listener’s throat. Yes, there are four interlude pieces on the album, but all are well-considered and surprisingly effective, setting up the following tracks well and not needing to be skipped like such interludes usually are. Moments of beauty like the piano-backed Lunar Silhouette are put next to heavier blasts like King Of The Burning Anthems and the album doesn’t suffer for it at all.

What Darzamat don’t do is provide anything particularly original. Gothic Metal hasn’t really progressed that much since its inception; either the band write good songs or they don’t. Here, Darzamat do write good songs, but they’re nearly fifteen years into their careers and, having established a niche for themselves amidst the legions, aren’t likely to break out of it and produce a true masterpiece. Yet Solfernus’ Path is a good album, sure to appeal to those types who don’t mind a little black molasses in their Gothic porridge – it won’t make it taste horrible, but it does add something extra to the flavour, enough to make Darzamat’s recipe worth trying.

Killing Songs :
Vote For Heresy, Pain Collector, Gloria Inferni
Goat quoted 75 / 100
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