Heavy Metal • Ireland
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Darkest Era is a Northern Irish metal act formed in 2005 under the Nemesis moniker. The band changed their name to Darkest Era in 2006.

Darkest Era released a couple of EP's before releasing their debut full-length studio album The Last Caress Of Light in February 2011 through Metal Blade Records.

After some line-up changes and a change of label to Cruz del Sur Music Darkest Era released their second album, Severance in June 2014.

(Original Biography written by UMUR and updated by adg211288, June 2014)
Thanks to UMUR for the addition and adg211288 for the updates

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DARKEST ERA Discography

DARKEST ERA albums / top albums

DARKEST ERA The Last Caress Of Light album cover 3.75 | 6 ratings
The Last Caress Of Light
Heavy Metal 2011
DARKEST ERA Severance album cover 4.50 | 2 ratings
Heavy Metal 2014

DARKEST ERA EPs & splits

DARKEST ERA The Journey Through Damnation album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Journey Through Damnation
Heavy Metal 2008
DARKEST ERA The Oaks Session album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Oaks Session
Heavy Metal 2010
DARKEST ERA Gods and Origins album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Gods and Origins
Heavy Metal 2015

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Album · 2014 · Heavy Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Severance (2014) is the second full-length studio album by Northern Irish metal act Darkest Era. It's been a few years now since the band made their debut with The Last Caress of Light (2011) and since that time the band has had a couple of personnel changes with Daniel O'Toole replacing David Lindsay on bass and Cameron Åhslund-Glass replacing Lisa Howe on drums. The band has also found a new home for their music in Italian label Cruz del Sur Music, having previously been with Metal Blade Records.

While Darkest Era seem to be always hyped up as folk metal act my own experience with The Last Caress of Light was that it was much more the traditional heavy metal affair, albeit an atypical one. The group had some quasi-folk ideas certainly and one song was obviously a folk song (not folk metal), but the record hardly belonged on the same page as the work of artists like Cruachan, Аркона or Eluveitie. The same is true of Severance; there is a subtle folk presence in the music (with the occasional more overt bit such as the acoustic guitar melody that opens the album) but to call Darkest Era a folk metal act because of it is rather overstating the impact the folk element has on their music. But is this one more of a heavy metal record like The Last Caress of Light or something else entirely? Well that's actually a tricky question to answer.

Deep down I suppose the backbone of the music on Severance is still traditional heavy metal but this is actually quite a different sounding album to The Last Caress of Light, which I've always felt comfortable calling a heavy metal album with folk influences. This one isn't so easy to pigeonhole because aside from the folksy heavy metal vibes there are more elements going into the music. The most obvious element that I hear in the music is actually power metal, which is a genre that I did not detect a presence of on the previous album, but is undoubtedly here in the form of fast paced riffs which show up quite prominently in tracks like Sorrow's Boundless Realm and The Scavenger, but always alongside some other elements. There are some elements of power metal in other songs as well, but would I call Severance a power metal album? Not really, but it is definitely music primarily driven by riffs.

Elsewhere the guitars have a rawer and more atmospheric sound that is more akin to black metal than any other type of metal, except that vocalist Krum sings one hundred percent cleanly. So it's not a black metal record either. Blackened maybe, but blackened what? Yet more of the music has more in common with doom metal than anything but by comparison with the power metal, blackened vibes and even the subtle folk influences come across as a minority element, primarily showing up at the start of The Serpent and the Shadow. Like their debut it certainly isn't folk metal (though I do admit those subtle folk vibes are quite common, maybe the most common element) but the overall vibe doesn't really fit as heavy metal either despite the riffs. On The Last Caress of Light yes, but as I said, Severance is quite a different sounding album. I could actually run off every known metal genre here and still come up blank trying to pigeonhole Severance.

Except of course, the obvious: it is metal. In many ways it's simpler to just say metal and leave it at that without any specifics, as that's the only thing you can say with a certainly about the album, even though having thought about it saying that it's blackened folksy heavy metal with influences of power metal isn't wrong if you do want to go into detail, except to me that sounds a bit too longwinded. But it is that or just metal. Take your pick on what you think suits it best.

Perhaps it's a good thing that this album has given me so much trouble to accurately describe. That makes it a rarity; most music is quite easy to tag and is also quite easy to find a similar artist to compare to. Severance however is one of those special albums that is standing proudly alone.

This review has come this far and I haven't actually even begin to say if this music is actually any good or not. Well it certainly is. Whatever you ultimately want to call the music on Severance it's clear to me that Darkest Era have improved a lot as a band in the time between albums. Their song writing is now much more condensed with the songs on Severance being, in general, between the four and six minute marks rather than the six to eight of The Last Caress of Light, though there is still one longer one in the form of the album closer Blood, Sand and Stone. While I did not really have a problem with the longer track lengths on the previous album the more condensed feeling on Severance does help its songs flow even better and I think that's pretty integral for an album that covers several different musical ideas the way this one does. I also find the album a lot more memorable and unlike The Last Caress of Light which I did not revisit until my promo of Severance arrived I find myself wanting to keep going back to this one. It's a very easy album to lose yourself in and by the time it ends about 45 minutes later starting it all over again seems a very valid option.

Darkest Era's introduction of power metal elements also works wonders for them, The Scavenger being one of my favourites from this very strong album. Much as I love a good and fast power metal riff the rest of the guitar work by Sarah Weighell and Ade Mulgrew shouldn't be underestimated. Darkest Era don't make showy music but as I pointed out in my lengthy musing on the album's genre these two are switching riffs styles a fair bit on this album and plus what folk element is here is also done using the guitars and I'm generally not talking through use of folksy melodic lead playing, but with more riff like structures. Vocalist Krum seems have got even stronger in voice than he was before too. He's a real commanding presence on this record. Everything is simply done better than on The Last Caress of Light, and that was a pretty solid debut in my opinion.

Severance is a special album. There really isn't anything else I can say to round off this review than to stress how special it is. And yet it feels as though despite how strong it is that Darkest Era may still have even better to offer as they continue to grow as musicians and songwriters. Given how much growth is noticeable between this and The Last Caress of Light it doesn't seem unreasonable to think that by the time Album #3 comes around they'll be producing some of the best and most innovative metal music on the planet. But for now it's an easy high end 4.5 stars for Severance.


(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven: http://metaltube.freeforums.org/darkest-era-severance-t3562.html)

DARKEST ERA The Last Caress Of Light

Album · 2011 · Heavy Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
The Last Caress of Light is the debut full-length album from Irish metal band Darkest Era. Darkest Era is a band which seems to be getting associated with folk metal (which for all I know could be true of their prior EP’s since I haven’t heard them), but on this debut effort the band produces what is pretty much a traditional heavy metal album with a few folk influences thrown in for flavour, but they don’t dominate the overall sound of the record.

To further elaborate on the band’s sound, the folk influence is actually a pretty strong one, but the band is clearly more concerned with the metal side of things and they incorporate their folk side through use of a guitar driven sound rather than including a range of traditional instruments that other folk metal bands such as their countrymen Cruachan do. It goes beyond that though, because in general the songs lyrically fit with the whole folk thing, with a focus on Celtic mythology and written in such a way that when delivered by the band’s frontman Dwayne Maguire, often known as Krum, the songs sound as if they could easily be translated into folk songs if the guitars were stripped away, as the band proves with the track Poem to the Gael, an acoustic folk song. As it is though the band musically focuses on the traditional metal setup of vocals, guitars, bass and drums to deliver their songs, resulting in an album that in sound is an album more along the lines of classic traditional metal acts than the likes of bands such as Cruachan or Waylander.

The writing on The Last Caress of Light is pretty strong and the band opens up the album with the excellent track The Morrigan. Listening to this it’s very clear right from the off that as a band Darkest Era are very competent at their instruments and that in Krum they have a frontman with a great and powerful voice which suits their music perfectly. The quality of the writing is kept consistent throughout the album as well, resulting overall in a quality release with other tracks such as Beneath the Frozen Sky and The Last Caress of Light Before the Dark firmly establishing themselves of highlights of the album. The aforementioned Poem to the Gael is the most surprisingly track though, because as I mentioned it’s an acoustic folk song. It very clearly showcases that the band is versatile and brings those folk leanings to the fore and I’d definitely consider it another highlight of this very fine album.

The Last Caress of Light is overall a highly impressive debut album from this young band. I recommend it to fans of bands with a classic metal sound mostly but folk metal fans may also take some enjoyment out of it so long as they remember to approach it with the knowledge that despite some hype about being folk metal, what folk there is on the album is minimal, and the album shouldn’t be taken as folk metal by any means.

(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven)

DARKEST ERA The Last Caress Of Light

Album · 2011 · Heavy Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Time Signature
Heathen burial...

Genre: Gothic power metal with a few Celtic influences

Having released a number of EPs, Northern Irish metal band Darkest Era released their debut LP "The Last Caress of Light" earlier this year. The band are described as a folk metal band, but I do not detect an abundance of fol elements on this album (which could, admittedly, be due to ignorance on my part). To me it sounds more like a blend of gothic metal, power metal and traditional metal with a couple of folk metal elements. It seems to me that the main folk elements consist of guitar melody patterns and a dominant use of 3/4 patterns (granted, "A Poem to the Gael" is an acoustic folk song - and it's actually a very nice piece of music).

Darkest Era make use of the classic metal instrumentation (drums, bass, guitars, vocals), and they do so with great success. I like how they focus on guitar harmonies both in riffs and lead melodies, and, to me, it's the the shared guitar work of guitarists Ade Mulgrew of Sarah Weighell er which constitute the forte of this band; vocalist Dwayne Maguire also derseves special mention, since his powerful, yet emotional, singing contributes an important melancholic dimension to the music on this album.

So, there's some great stuff on this album, to be sure, but I think that there is a tendency for the music to become a bit monotonous in the long run. I think that the primary reason is that the band use the same 3/4 drive in virtually every song, and the same types of harmonies. It is one of those albums, where you can get a real kick out of listening to a couple of tracks at the time, but where you shouldn't listen to the entire album in one go. That would simply be unfair to the individual songs, because they are good and the listening experience of the individual song should not be spoiled by the entire album's tendency for sameyness.

Now, the final track "The Last Caress of Light" strikes me as being a blueprint for what Darkest Era could do to avoid this in the future. It is an epic 11 minutes track (that's not so much it though), in which Darkest Era change from the usual 3/4 drive to a 4/4 drive, and that gives the song a completely new type of energy. I really think that Darkest Era should experiment more with time signatures. They're obviously good musicians, and they obviously have a knack for writing haunting and catchy guitar melodies and guitar riffs, and they have unique singer who - single-handedly - contributes and additional dimension to the music. Experimenting with other time signature than 3/4 should be no problem, and I think it would take Darkest Era up where the certainly deserve to be.

To reiterate, this is a good album with lots of good stuff on it. There is potential here, and it is worth checking out.

DARKEST ERA The Last Caress Of Light

Album · 2011 · Heavy Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
After releasing a couple of EP's in the late 2000's, Darkest Era's full-length debut for Metal Blade Records was released in February, 2011. The Last Caress of Light, though not without its faults, is a generally stunning debut from these young Irish lads. The musicianship is excellent across the board, the compositions are memorable, and Darkest Era also has a distinct knack for creating epic soundscapes without relying too heavily on modern technology. People who enjoy Celtic metal that lies more towards the "metal" end of the spectrum should definitely check out The Last Caress of Light.

The music on The Last Caress of Light is a mix of traditional heavy metal and folk metal. Darkest Era just scream "UK" in so many ways... the folky tendencies hint towards the Irish Celtic-metal scene, and NWoBHM influences certainly aren't forgotten about either. I've often heard Darkest Era compared to Primordial (and even considered a clone band by some), and I think that's a good comparison. The Last Caress of Light isn't the most shockingly original album out there, but the level of quality is high enough to forget about how Darkest Era "wears their influences on their sleeves". The music is generally pretty raw - the production is pretty bare-bones (though still very professional), the instrumentation isn't very varied, and the raw vocal delivery of Dwayne "Krum" Maguire is pure bliss. All three of these things may be detrimental to some, but for me it's great to hear that this band is capable of making quality folk metal without relying too heavily on modern amenities.

The Last Caress of Light isn't an album that will completely "knock your socks off" so to speak, but it has enough going for it to warrant attention from the folk metal community. If you like your Celtic metal to be hard-hitting, intense, and filled with terrific vocals, Darkest Era is a band to keep your eye on! This strong debut is worth 3.5 stars from this reviewer. Fans of Primordial, NWoBHM, and folk metal in general should take a look in this direction.

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adg211288 wrote:
more than 2 years ago
An interview with Darkest Era has been posted to the MMA forums:



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