Released: 2015, Quality Steel Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
It is both widely known and accepted that Germany is amongst the greatest exponents of metal in the world, with a number of the world's biggest and best hailing from there. So it comes as no surprise that ARS IRAE continue to fly the flag for Germanic metal, with their sophomore release “Dunkle Klänge”.
One of the most noticeable features of the album is the raspy, harsh vocals all in German. A wonderfully expressive language, yet there are certain instances where it carries a whole load more aggression than what we normal are subject to. Coupled with such aggressive cuts as the title track, “Als Nichts War” and “Herbst”, it adds a certain quality that just can't seem to be matched by the English-language equivalents. Further to that, there's a refreshing gritty, gurgle-y quality to Stuffer's vocals that definitely has a unique selling point – it sets ARS IRAE apart from the plethora of other metal bands with copy-paste Cookie Monster vocals.
Super producer Dan Swåno handles the production on “Dunkle Klänge”, and it becomes an instrument unto itself: where everything is so finely balanced and allowed room to breathe, it marries it all together to a fine precipice that makes for a greater impact. Yet great production is nothing without great songs to use it on, and ARS IRAE have expanded on their debut's formula for well-crafted blackened death metal.
The biggest fear with any band's sophomore album is maintaining or improving upon the debut; you only get one debut and making a decent one sets a standard. Fortunately for ARS IRAE, they have stayed the course and ensure Germany's reputation for supreme metal is upheld.
Review by: Lee Carter