"some music was meant to stay underground..."

Darkspace - "Dark Space III" (CD)

Darkspace - "Dark Space III" CD cover image

"Dark Space III" track listing:

1. Dark (3.11)
2. Dark (3.12)
3. Dark (3.13)
4. Dark (3.14)
5. Dark (3.15)
6. Dark (3.16)
7. Dark (3.17)

Reviewed by on November 16, 2008

"'Darkspace III' feels like it achieves everything it sets out to do and is a great black metal album for a niche crowd."

Ever been inside a snowstorm? Listened to televisions on max volume while they're playing static? Been chased through space by a screaming banshee? Well probably not the last one, but the next best thing to that experience one of the most esoteric bands in metal today, Darkspace. Without label or advertisement help, Swiss band Darkspace has become a true underground gem and this release (recorded in an underground shelter no less) is their newest apocalyptic offering.

While black metal is the obvious tag, Darkspace has stretched out from previous albums with "Dark Space III" emerging as a successful combination of the band's styles. There is not so much hyper-speed battery as there is massive chugging, pummeling, and pulsing that thuds through the fog of noise. And the chugging is truly massive, the sound scape here is terrifyingly big, and synths amplify the music to a void so big you'll never need to question why this band is named Darkspace.

Not for the faint of heart or the average black metal fan, Darkspace will appeal to those who enjoy the avant-garde nature of ambient or drone. This formula is certainly a sidestep from the well-traveled black metal path. Nearly all of the bass and guitar work is indistinguishable from the band's wall of noise, and the music tends to roll in and surround you like an amorphous cloud, withdrawing only for some short ambient tracks.

And yet to call the music raw would be unfair. With more industrial tones like that of Godflesh than traditional raw black metal noise, this is more of a massive ambient metal trip. Also of note is the song lengths, which nearly all stretch to 10 minutes of pretty constant song structure. Although if I need to warn you about getting bored listening to this album then you're not the type of person who should be listening to it in the first place. In fact, while a select few will praise this album as a nihilistic masterpiece, 95% of metalheads will pass this off as pure noise. Injecting some personal opinion, I'm somewhere in the former. "Darkspace III" feels like it achieves everything it sets out to do and is a great black metal album for a niche crowd.

While Darkspace slots themselves along side bands like Australia's Portal in the musical quest for noisedom and alongside them there aren't that many bands out there playing this type of music. If Merzbow and Sunn 0))) sit next to Darkthrone and Xasthur in your music collection then you're probably ready to step into the shadows of one of the darkest bands in music today.

Highs: Incredibly dark, pushes the boundaries of black metal and music

Lows: No real let downs but totally impenetrable for most music fans

Bottom line: Awesome and terrifying at the same time, Darkspace fans will not be disappointed

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)