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Darktrance - Pessimum (CD)

dark metal, BadMoodMan Music, BadMoodMan Music
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BMM. 058-13 x
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The third album from the Ukranian project featuring original music at the junction of post black metal and dark metal without any stylistic limitations. «Pessimum» is undoubtedly the most diverse and intellectual work by Darktrance accumulated a wide spectrum of heavy music genres. Accurate sound mastering turns this work to a powerful message from apocalyptic world. The album is addressed to the fans of music in the vein of Deinonychus and Forgotten Tomb.

1 Anthem Of Melancholy
2 Soul Collectors
3 Pessimum
4 Day X
5 Evening Again
6 Fall Of The Emptiness
7 Disappointed Again
8 Whispers Of The City In Blood
9 Rejection
10 Hills Of Coma
11 Last

Artist Country:
Album Year:
dark metal
CD Album
Jewel Case
BadMoodMan Music
Cat Num:
BMM. 058-13
Release Year:
4 627080 610248
Country Of Manufacture:
Forgotten Path

The third album from one-man project Darktrance, created by Дмитрий Губский from Ukraine is an example of Modern Black Metal. This music could be easily described as Atmospheric Black (I see some parallels with early Ulver). Also, it is particularly mixed with progressive consonances of Djent, which determines the quite unusual structure of songs and a weird virtual sense of space. I suppose that “Pessimum” is perfect for those who are fond of innovative sounds and support the label of third-age Black Metal or various terms of Post-Black; the aforementioned album has found itself in the embrace of these debatable concepts. Well, if you dig for some real naturalness and sincerity, not just technique and emotional hooks with the snakes of melody, you’ll be disappointed. As both the author’s of this project and creative journey (have played in two Melodic Death and in Djent bands) and the cover of the album lays down the law - here you won’t find any profoundness of Black Metal, but there prevails some characteristics to such a sounding state, which is going to be discussed at length.
Well, it seems that “Pessimum” is not really a pessimistic work; it is more melancholic and somehow not really melancholic beyond hope, but actually quite reminiscent of standard descriptions of moping and temperaments. The album is very long, strongly miscellaneous and a bit irritable; it is especially felt in the vocals which ply between sweet clear singing and an odd Hardcore/Screamo style - the transitions are often based on scarce details, the screaming is often inserted quite by surprise, but it is emotionally motivated. Especially vivid and pedantry which is characteristic to melancholy - the sounds are neatly seated in their places and don’t grow over other sounds; the music is peculiarly technically processed, all the empty mediums are filled with guitar effects or electronic sounds and sometimes there is no space left for arguably associative inserts. Also the melancholic reflection of the album is bright - a frustration about the present and at least musically quite an evident sight to the future: though it seems that the future doesn’t promise anything great, just as the cover shows - the grave, but the music still has lots of light; perhaps the author forgets the reality or is just glad for the fact that soon he won’t have to agonize. For instance, the song “Fall of the Emptiness” by its mood and title seem to speak not about tomorrow in the nothingness, but about a scenic socialistic or Jehovah’s Witnessess’ paradise with happy and equal people sitting around a table. But the melancholic voice is the brightest on this album (well, it often is characterized as weak and silent) - however, the author endeavours to introduce to us with ostensibly original music, only the echo of the clean voice could be heard, it is mixed with the new shouting. However, it is a rapidly forgotten echo...

Author: Bloodie
The Pit of the Damned

E sono tre… sto parlando ovviamente degli album della one man band ucraina, Darktrance. Da notare immediatamente che lo spettro musicale coperto dal mastermind Deimos si è notevolmente ispessito, dando corpo ad un sound abile nel combinare sonorità estreme con una vena assai melodica e darkeggiante, per un risultato finale davvero singolare. L’album tocca il suo apice già con l’iniziale “Anthems of Melancholy”, traccia che vive del connubio vocale del frontman, con un cantato disperato ma assai convincente, che si contrappone al classico pulito (ormai a dir poco inflazionato), il tutto giocato su un riffing cupo e minaccioso, in cui la malinconia è acuita da soffusi tocchi di tastiera. Un bel riffone death apre “Soul Collectors”, con la voce che sembra aver assunto dei connotati più vicini al post-hardcore che al black; eccomi però improvvisamente piombare nelle tenebre con un breve break catacombale da cui esplode un’accelerazione di chiara derivazione nordica. Ma è comunque il ritmo apocalittico alternato al riffing spietato, a dettare i tempi della song, con chiari riferimenti al sound dei Bethlehem. La title track offre altri spunti interessanti a livello delle tastiere, spettrali e inquietanti cosi come le ritmiche acuminate e il cantato, ancora in versione clean, che pian piano tende ad assumere una propria delineata fisionomia. Mi piace, non c’è che dire. “Day X” esplora altre strade: quelle della paranoia, del riffing ipnotico e di un uno stile vocale ossessivo, sorretto da splendide, esplosive e spaziali linee di chitarra. “Pessimum” cresce, è una forma che va plasmandosi all’interno della mia testa, assume contorni che neppure immaginavo e lentamente appaga non poco i miei sensi. Un interludio abissale e poi è “Fall of the Emptiness” a suonare nel mio stereo con un sound vicino a quello dei nostrani Forgotten Tomb, anche se poi la creatura del buon Deimos sembra dirigersi verso altri lidi pescando un po’ dal post-black, dal dark dei Tiamat di “The Deeper Kind of Slumber” o dal doom. Sono allibito. C’è ben poco di scontato dentro le note di “Pessimum”, anche se non tutte le song ovviamente brillano di luce propria. Però è un album che alla fine risulterà coinvolgente, fresco e divertente: ultima menzione per “Whispers of the City in Blood”, traccia in linea con la produzione death doom melodico finlandese (Black Sun Aeon) e l’ultima schizoide e tenebrosa “Last”, che con i suoi otto minuti chiude degnamente un lavoro che non dovrà passare inosservato alla vostra attenzione. I Darktrance hanno fatto un grande passo in avanti rispetto al precedente album, dimostrando di essere pronti al grande salto per una etichetta dalle ambizioni più grandi. Complimenti!

Author: Francesco Scarci

Bei DARKTRANCE handelt es sich um eine Ein-Mann-Band aus der Ukraine, genauer aus Kiev. Deimos nennt sich der junge Mann, der seine Kreativität offensichtlich nicht im Zaum halten kann, denn mit COLD RESISTANCE und DARGOTH hat der Gute tatsächlich noch zwei weitere Solo-Projekte am Start. Verrückt wie viele Ideen ein Einzelner doch haben kann, klingt "Pessimum" doch alles andere als uninspiriert oder ausgelutscht.
Die Mucke an sich ist zwar ziemlich unangenehm, kantig und depressiv, aber niemals schlecht oder langweilig. Gerade die ersten Songs auf dem Longplayer sind sehr schwere Kost, aber das erwartet man wohl auch, wenn ein Titel schon "Anthem of Melancholy" heißt. Die Mucke selbst schwankt doch sehr stark zwischen Black Metal à la FORGOTTEN TOMB und Indie-Gedöns, wie z.B. TOOL. DARKTRANCE setzen aber allem voran auf Atmosphäre und ich sage euch, dat hat der Kollege hier wirklich drauf. Alle Kompositionen (inklusive dem Ambient-Stück "Evening Again") klingen nach totaler Verzweiflung, Hoffnungslosigkeit oder sogar Todessehnsucht. Als Zielgruppe wurde ich am ehesten Black Metal-Jünger heranziehen, aber ich könnte mir gut vorstellen, dass auch die Schwarze Szene mit diesem Machwerk etwas anfangen könnte?!
Der Gesang ist meist geschrien, aber auch clean (und gut) gesungen, manchmal sogar gegrowlt und passt immer haargenau zur Mucke. Zum Glück hat es sich Dmytry Gubsky (aka Deimos) verkniffen auf die Depressive Black Metal Schiene zu wechseln, denn das hätte für mich dieses Album total zerstört. "Pessimum" ist ein Album für ganz spezielle, morbide, nihilistische Stunden und ganz gewiss nicht jedermanns Geschmack.

Anspieltipps: Der Opener "Anthem of Melancholy", bei dem bestimmt schon viele abschalten und das massenkompatiblere "Disappointed Again".

Author: Sascha S.
Destructive Music

It has been four long years since Ukrainian black metal solo project Darktrance graced us with an offering but all that has changed now as “Pessimum” has been unleashed upon us through Solitude Productions. On listening to the album I’d have to say that black metal is not an accurate, or at least not a fully accurate picture of what is on offer but before delving into that area I’m going to discuss the down sides to Darktrance.

Firstly there are moments all be it not that often where the drumming loses it’s rhythm and at others the vocals feel a little off key. There, with those things said back on track. Black metal this may be as a core sound but there is a huge element of death metal within this album and a deeply progressive nature to go along with it also. Whilst this album doesn’t exactly blow me away there are moments, interludes if you like that I find almost staggering and the same goes the melodic undertones that run through this records constantly, giving it a real sense of hidden layers and textures. Vocally I don’t feel is the bands strongest area but it isn’t all that bad, yet musically a lot of thought and craft has gone into the making of “Pessimum” and it makes for an intriguing listen!


I was initially put-off by Pessimum - yet another release that features my old nemesis, horribly overloud shouting vocals which rip your attention away from the music… And right off the bat at that!

Bracing myself for the rest of the work, my mindset was, well, pessimistic.

Ultimately I'm glad I persevered.

Darktrance is a one-man Ukrainian act. Deimos, when not busy being a Martian moon, is the brainchild here, as well as Dargos and Cold Resistance. Solitude tagged them as "dark metal"- and while I hate randomly spawning new genre tags, that one seems fair enough. Pessimum is not black enough to be black, not prog enough to really be prog (see also: Ameinsus, whom I reviewed earlier this year) … the whole thing is somewhere in the middle but with a dark/negative vibe.

Furthermore, it seems the band is more fluid in shifting from one style to the other. The title track shifts into black metal territory while "Whispers In The City Of Blood" sounds like it could be a song by The Cure (thinking "Burn" or "Fascination Street") if they ever cranked up the distortion pedal… "Soul Collectors" bounces between the extremes. Deimos also alternates harsh shouted vocals, which seem more appropriate on the title track than the opener against clean. Just as with the hooting and hollering, his clean efforts are perhaps flawed, certainly not the best, but they work. They fit. And that's what makes them enjoyable.

Once I got past my initial annoyance I found myself really enjoying this album, and more importantly, enjoying it a bit more with each subsequent listen. It's a grower. If you're in the mood for something, well, moody, that meanders all over the 'negative music' map, Pessimum is worth your time.

Author: BitterCOld
Lords of Metal

De Oekraense outfit Darktrance is nu al klaar met hun derde album genaamd 'Pessimum'. Darktrance speelt black metal met een licht depressief en merkbaar industrieel karakter. In vergelijking met voorganger 'Beyond The Gates Of Insanity' is 'Pessimum' sneller, agressiever en minder somber of depressief. Ook merkbaar is de toename in het gebruik van cleane zang, dat goed werkt en verfrissend is. Deze zang voeg een emotioneel tintje aan de muziek toe die ik wel kan waarderen. Andere atmosferische versterkers zijn gitaar-leads en sporadische synths. Consistenter dan 'Beyond The Gates Of Insanity' en met nummers die wat makkelijker te begrijpen zijn, vind ik dat 'Pessimum' wederom een verbetering is voor Darktrance.

Author: Roel de Haan
Pitchline Zine

Hay veces que uno se topa con discos que son todo un reto a la hora de valorarlos, que requieren de muchas escuchas para sacar algo en claro, que no entran a la primera y se necesitan tiempo y dedicación para llegar a una conclusión concisa. Y es que cuando se tiene una impresión (buena o mala) de un trabajo todo sale solo, pero cuando no se sabe muy bien qué se tiene delante hay que ponerse manos a la obra para exprimirlo hasta sacar algo.

Tal ha sido el caso de Darktrance (proyecto del músico Dmytry Gubsky, alias Deimos) y su nuevo disco ‘Pessimum’ lanzado por BadMoodMan Music, al cual no ha sido fácil darle una valoración. Y es que ‘Pessimum’ es un disco que puede parecer todo y nada a la vez: tiene elementos, sonidos y distorsión propios del Black Metal, pero no es Black Metal, tiene elementos del Doom Metal, pero no es Doom... lo cual puede despistar al oyente. De hecho son tantos los elementos que puede uno encontrarse en este trabajo (teclados y toques electrónicos en “Day X”, pasajes de teclado que pueden recordar a las bandas primerizas de Post-Punk en “Evening Again”, pequeñas reminiscencias al Rock gótico, etc), que a pesar de que podrían llevar un hilo coherente entre todas estas influencias, de no ser por las voces podría decirse que estamos escuchando una banda distinta en cada tema.

Y son precisamente las voces las que producen esa diferencia de contraste respecto a los instrumentos: voces generalmente agudas y raspadas sin llegar a las comunes del Black Metal intercaladas con otras más limpias y tranquilas además de algunos growls como en “Soul Collectors”, lo que a su vez son su punto débil, pues aunque al principio cumplen sin tampoco destacar, a medida que avanza el disco se vuelven repetitivas y peores, no hay más que escuchar el tercer tema que da nombre al disco para darse cuenta de ello.

La duración de ‘Pessimum’ tampoco es un punto a favor de este trabajo, pues a pesar de que existen obras con la misma duración que éste (una hora aproximadamente) con muy buenos resultados, en ‘Pessimum’ da la sensación de que los temas se extienden más de lo debido, lo cual con una duración menor podría haber conseguido que éstos “respiren” mejor y obtenga mejores resultados.

Por supuesto hay riffs y momentos buenos y destacables como al comienzo de Anthem of Melancholy y Soul Collectors, pero no son suficientes para suplir los inconvenientes que presenta Darktrance en su último disco, el cual peca de repetirse en los temas y de falta de nexo coherente entre los temas sin que resulte todo tan difuso. Eso sí, no se le puede achacar el hecho de ser un disco que pone a prueba al oyente.

Author: Soulkiller
Iye Zine

La Bad Mood Man, sussidiaria della Solitude Productions, pubblica meritoriamente questo terzo album degli ucraini Darktrance.

Prendete i Meshuggah, uniteli ai Forgotten Tomb e alzate il volume. Quando qualcosa è davvero originale lo si definisce post–qualcosa, ma personalmente io definirei questo disco solo metal. Certo è un metal moderno, ma tutti gli stilemi del genere vi sono ben presenti. La struttura delle loro canzoni è in alcuni casi assai complessa, e si rifà a generi come il black o il death, ma il cuore del gruppo batte per il prog metal, non tanto per la durezza, quanto per la melodia. Ci sono anche momenti che richiamano ai Tool, o comunque a gruppi cerebrali e con musicalità complesse. Il risultato è davvero notevole, senza legarsi a nessun genere o dogma musicale. Quando lo si risente dopo la prima volta si scoprono sempre nuovi passaggi, o si interpreta diversamente una certa melodia. Il disco merita davvero ascolti approfonditi e ripetuti. E prestate attenzione al sottobosco ucraino, che ci sta regalando diverse gioie.

Author: Massimo Argo
Forbidden Magazine

I’ve been a long time fan of Solitude Productions eventhough the vast majority of their releases are in the My Dying Bride/Novembers Doom vein but every set of quarterly releases from them and their brother label, BadMoodMan, yield a release that’s something that honestly wows me and Darktrance is one of those releases. It’s tagged as “dark metal” but to my ears it’s a mixture of progressive and good 90’s underground indie rock with the brooding heaviness of Neurosis and possibly even some post black metal. Honestly, it’s not what I call metal at all but it sure slays most Southern Lord and Neurot releases these days so that alone gives them major scores from me.Perhaps if they’d not lost their taste they’d be releasing stuff this intense still today, but anyway here’s the lowdown on this one.

Upon listening several things immediately stand out in Darktrance that I rarely get to point out in too many other releases these days and those are the following: unique and unpredictable song structures that flow interrupted but never settle into one mode for too long; the shouted Neurosis-esque vocal style is typically balanced with nice deep, clean vocals to add a certain additional tempering to keep the sound from being too common or one-directional; there is a distinct presence of trebly and almost shoegaze/post rock/black metal fusion; nice hints of slightly symphonic touches just for texture; and plenty of explosive emotional bursts surrounded by melodic and introspective mellower passages within each song. These are especially dominant on the almost gothic meets skeletal modern black metal with post rock anthem “Whispers in the City of Blood” and for the first time listening on my commute today I put this album on random mode in the car and this song was the one that really grabbed my attention and drew me in.

In fact, for the entire ride I kept thinking about how to approach the album in the review because, as already pointed out, it’s not really METAL in the traditional sense and I’m a pure metalhead, but I am also a huge fan of other heavy music genres and this was a great amalgamation of many heavy styles with loads of groove and mood that cannot be easily rivaled by the current crop of bands coming into being with songs like “Disappointed Again” which embrace the doomy side of guitar tones, add in nice sharp angular leads, back them with some stormy down tuned rhythm bombs, and play off of a balance of opposite in tempo and volume doing a sort of “loud soft loud” simultaneously with a drudging, sometime instrumental moment combusting into a violent almost sludge/crossover fit vocally. Basically whatever your poison is Darktrance can deliver it in some degree of potency to get you hooked.

Okay, so now I understand why this album has received pretty solid reviews and I am hopefully giving it one as well here. With many albums in the last year or two, or three actually, it’s been difficult to give kudos to bands across the board but Darktrance are one of the few that I will not just simply review once and then place on the shelf, they will defintely command more listens and repeats in the near and distant future. Granted, I don’t listen to much stuff like this these days but this is sort of like Minsk,Isis, Mouth of the Architect fused with Neurosis and given a lot more breathing room in structure and atmosphere without compromising the oppressively heavy themes and sound. Maybe there’s some of the unique and not so “black” black metal present as well, as there’s definitely some solid crunching treble riffing and even some death metal flavors to be savored and YES , it’s dreary and melancholy in nature but definitely more in the bitter angst and violent acting out phase than the suffocating moping and drowning in gloom one. In other words Darktrance have balls that are wrecking balls of steel in terms of both magnitude and destructive potential so look alive folks, passion now has real physical force!!! No wonder it’s been receiving 8-9’s out of 10.

Author: Janet Willis
Ave Noctum

Darktrance is the project of sole member Deimos (also of Cold Resistance and Dargoth), a Ukrainian dark metal band which was created in 2007. ‘Pessimum’ is the projects third album, purveying a twisted brand of doomy dark metal that brims with mood, whilst not being afraid to kick out the black metal riffage when the carnal need is required.

“Anthem of Melancholy” opens the album with a clean, echoing guitar slowly ringing out, before slowly building into a crescendo of gradually churning guitars and spacey, spooky atmospheric keyboards. It’s at this point when the deranged vocals kick in, and I’m pleasantly reminded of early Bethlehem, and also of Marco Kehren’s Deinonychus. Great chunks of Forgotten Tomb like melodies ring throughout the chiming guitar work, as the vocals suddenly change to a clean, smooth tone, before switching to a guttural bellowing style – the guy certainly has decent range to play with for sure, and maximises each differing styles potential alongside the fitting musical accompaniment. The title track “Pessimum” broods with an uncompromising and unrelenting atmosphere which pervades the listener with chugging persistence, occasionally even picking up speed to rattle into a gnarly blackened blast beat or two. “Day X” is filled with staccato, shimmering guitars, chopping and stuttering throughout, bouncing from one speaker to the next so as to confuse and hypnotise. This coupled with the cleanly orated lyrics gives off a great, uneasy aura to the track. “Rejection” is filled with an evil vibe, made so by an abundance of sick barked vocals, and an array of discordant guitar work and feverishly nauseating bass work that poisons every second of the track. Finishing up with the longest song on the album, the 8 minute plus “Last” has an epic vibe about it, telling a musical story which at times even comes across as being uplifting in comparison to the rest of the album, even with all the minor key abuse throughout.

In all, there are just over 65 minutes of music to absorb here. So similarly to a lot of doom and dark metal, this isn’t something that can be thrown on in the background if you’re wanting to maximise enjoyment by sucking out every last drop of atmosphere by giving it the time to sink in. I had to have a few intensive listens before it fully clicked, as I found listening at work or on a car journey when my mind was elsewhere, it just wasn’t being allowed to unfurl its tentacles so as to burrow its hook-like barbs into my brain to allow its venom to spread!

There are a lot of great ideas here which are pulled off impressively well more often than not. The atmosphere is in abundance thanks to the great yet subtle keyboard work, and the chugging heavy guitar work (in a clear, crisp production that allows even the faintest of nuance to be picked up from the simplest of guitar lines). Personally the thing that makes this album for me is the aforementioned vocals. When singing clean, Deimos captures your attention like some twisted Gregorian monk, and when breaking every chain of sanity and fully letting loose, the harsh vocals really do sound brilliantly unhinged. This is a must for dark metal enthusiasts.

Author: Lars Christiansen
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