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Dark Mass
Dark Mass Medium
March 2008
Released: 2007, DMSP Records
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Hanntu

One thing you can’t accuse these guys of, and that’s lack of ambition and self-belief. Imagine, if you will, a progressive death/thrash metal instrumental album. Dark Mass from Ukraine hyperbolically name their style of music Progressive Symphonic Hyper Metal (PSMH). Yup.

The thing is, this is a pretty damn good album. It’s unique at least. The guitars are top-notch, as good as you’ll find in any above-decent thrash-prog band. There’s some great shred licks as well as some melodic lead lines. But the imagination and complexity! Piano intros bash into heavy neck-swirling death riffs, which are mixed together with thrash lines, and interspersed with light acoustic (guitar and piano) passages that smell faintly of jazz, and…bass slapping? An entire album of this, I don’t quite know how to describe it. This is definitely left-of-centre, and I feel like my horizons have been expanded today.

Apparently they had a vocalist at one point, but (and I’m not making this up), he drank too much during a gig, was possessed by a demon, and had to have the shit kicked out of him by his concerned bandmates. Is it tongue-in-cheek? Are they taking the piss? Have a read of their website at least, it’s entertaining if nothing else. This is a seriously surprising (good?) album, and I need a couple more listens to fully decide. Right now it’s tending towards being fucking good. I think I might be a convert to this Progressive Symphonic HyperMetal thing, although I’ll refrain from using it in normal conversation for a while.

It’s refreshing is what it is. There’s an utter lack of regard for convention. I wish I were a better musician so that I could analyse this album for you and break it down bit by bit. But my ears tell me that if nothing else, a shitload of work went into this album – they have some truly good ideas. Being in Ukraine can’t do much for your profile level though, when the nearest drummer was apparently in Moscow.

I’ve made up my mind. This is seriously fucking good. Vocals would have been a distraction from such strong songs and such intrepid ideas. Readers can check them out at their website, which is on the sidebar to the right – and if you’ve heard any other bands like them at all, you’re welcome to drop me some mail and tell me all about it.

EDIT: I’ve just put it on repeat again…
Track Listing

1. Dark Mass Medium
2. Blazing Sides of Insanity
3. Neon Revelations
4. Guyee Shoomliat
5. Fires of Euphoria
6. Egocentric Extraversion
7. Extreme Neuron Noise
8. Comets of Black Cosmothrash
9. Possession Ocean Flaming Shores
10. Tearing The Wings Off


S.Dimon "Obsessed-By-Chainsaw"- guitar
B.Andreas "Bolt-in-Heavens" - drums
D.Semione "Confessor-Of-Dissonance" - bass
C.Richter "Conductor-Of-Universe" - keyboards

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» Dark Mass Medium
by Hanntu

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