Darkestrah Chong Aryk

Darkestrah - Chong Aryk


Darkestah has been on the Black Metal scene for quite some time with their music inspired by myths and legend from their country of origin. They formed in Bishek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan in 1999 and later relocated to Lepzig Germany where they now reside. Five years after their last full length the band releases an EP named after a cemetery in Kyrgyzstan, blasting out their epic music which is, as usual, inspired by shamanic rituals and ideas.

As Darkestrah´s music is surrounded by myths and legends, it is only logical that the first track, ”Gift of Mud and Venom” begins with some wind blowing across the plains and nearly drowning out the sound of shamanic drums and string instruments before a Jew’s harp pierces through the wind with the drums getting stronger and stronger. The mood is set when horse hooves race by and we are thrown into Darkestrah´s epic style of Black Metal music, emphasizing a gloomy and mythical ambience. Fast hits on the snare drum and cymbals follow the musical theme which is lifted by heavy distorted arpeggio guitars. Five minutes out, the metal music halts to make room for traditional folk instruments. Then appears the extremely deep voice we know from the other albums sounding like a didgeridoo and we are again lifted up into the epic metal style. A strong female voice rises and we wonder if Kriegtalith is back, one of the strongest female voices in Black Metal that has graced many of Darkestrah´s releases. But the voice is in the mix only for a short time and the music continues with the male screaming/growling vocals. The track ends on a lingering note from the synths.

It is good to get new music from Darkestrah again and on Facebook a promise of live shows. Then we might look forward to a performance of the second song, ”The Warrior Poet” which flows slower while Darkestrah´s familiar sound of arpeggio and tremolo guitars hold the melodic theme alive. At its mid-point, the song steers towards a fiercer segment before it turns to a symphonic impression as the synths lay the groundwork and the drums are slowing the tempo down. The synths and the guitars soar and lead to the end accompanying the strong screaming vocals.

”Broken Wheel” has a meditative start with synths and violins before slow distorted guitars begin to dominate in harmony with the synth. A groovy bass takes over and leads to a faster pace to accompany the screams. This song might seem a bit primitive in the midsection, like a nod to early Norwegian Black Metal. But as a mandolin takes over the soundwaves we are soon led back to modern Black Metal as the track picks up pace with blasting drums, fast solo playing guitars and we are in for an abrupt end.

This EP is intentionally raw and makes for a great listen. It should be raw as it then reinforces the mood of desolate countrysides, vast plains and high mountains steeped in myths and legends from times long gone, but still very much alive. If you are not familiar with Darkestrah, this EP is a good place to start and then work backwards through their catalogue of six epic full-length albums, two more EPs and a live album. Go for it.