Solemn, sombre, abrasive and otherworldly…
First released on CD in 2010 through French label Battlesk’rs Productions, Darvulia’s third album Mysticisme Macabre has had the vinyl treatment from California’s Nuclear War Now! Productions. The band named after Elizabeth Bathory’s servant who aided her in her atrocities, given their hypnotically macabre sound, it’s an apt appellation. A new band to these ears, while the first few plays of this album made a significant impression, it has continued to grow in my estimations.
The solemn and sombre drums that open ‘Les Ritual Des Sept Serpents’ give way to a track that burns with an unsettling fervour, the dissonant riffs twisting the heavy air and the abrasive vocals delivering its sinister sermons with an unnerving assured vehemence. Bookended by blazing riffs, while the mid-section of ‘Hivers Noirs Des Anciens Ages’ slows for an atmospherically earnest mid-section that augments the already otherworldly feel of the album, ‘AD’ plots a more intriguing structural path, shifting between tempos for an oppressive and suffocating experience.
‘Malesuadus’ is probably the best track here, its cascading and jarring riffs enhancing the sense of unease that has hitherto been a mere suggestion in the preceding tracks. Save for a few charred riffs and atmospheric arpeggios, as good as it is, ‘Terre De Necropole’ brings little new to the album, but that’s largely because the album’s formulaic approach has started to wear thin. And so closer ‘Langues Repugnantes’, another good track, doesn’t have quite the impact it could have.
While repetition and simplicity may be the album’s forte, it’s also its Achilles’ heel. Taken as one, the album peeks with track four as the deficiency of variation in the structures becomes apparent and threatens to overshadow the experience. However, that said, there’s a distinctly deranged and dark depth to the tracks that gives the album its own identity and marks it out as captivating and compelling. Hammering at the black anvil since 1999, a quick flick through their back catalogue shows that Darvulia have a clear understanding of what they want to and what they can achieve with their music. And six years on, Mysticisme Macabre has stood the test of time. A worthy piece of plastic.
7 out of 10
- Les Ritual Des Sept Serpents
- Hivers Noirs Des Anciens Ages
- Terre De Necropole
- Langues Repugnantes