Released: 2014, Fuel Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
THE AGE OF VICTORY is the fifth full length release from long running Italian melodic death merchants Dark Lunacy. The band’s espoused a fondness for historical events on past records, but THE AGE OF VICTORY takes the history lesson to new heights, tackling the weighty subject of the Russian Day of Victory. If you’re unfamiliar with your WWII history, The Day of Victory was May 9th, 1945, and was the day that Nazi Germany gave up the ghost to the Soviet Union. Thematically it’s a pretty heady topic, and save for a full dull spots, Dark Lunacy provides a fitting soundtrack for the occasion.
Dark Lunacy’s brand of death metal lives somewhere in between a heavier version of Moonspell, a more streamlined At the Gates, and maybe a bit of mid-90’s Paradise Lost for dramatic effect. THE AGE OF VICTORY was my first exposure to the band, and admittedly I found the whole thing pretty convincing upon first listen. The core of the riffs are rhythm heavy and thrashy, but are married with layers of well-placed synth effect and guitar harmonies. It’s a formula that you’re likely already familiar with (see above mentioned bands), but it’s a tough formula to pull off successfully, and Dark Lunacy never comes across as derivative. What really helps sell the band’s concept though is the original recordings of the Red Army Choir tastefully being woven into the tracks across the album. Far from shtick, it’s a pretty ballsy and creative move that works remarkably well in accentuating the emotional impact.
After a brief intro track, Dark Lunacy wastes little time in getting down to business, but weights a lot of the “oomph” towards the front of the album. “Red Blocks”, “Sacred War”, and “From the Don to the Sea” come out swinging, while “The Decemberists” (not an ode to the overrated folk band) allows some time for reflection with its gothic melody and escalating choir. As you get over the hump with “Anthem of Red Ghosts”, “The Mystic Rail” and the title track, things detour a bit into “haven’t we been there, done that?” territory. The tracks themselves are all well and good, but it gets a little predictable. “Victory”, however, closes out the album in volatile form and gets the blood pumping again, with the accordion tinged dirge “Silent Riot” acting as a subtle coda. It’s actually quite moving.
THE AGE OF VICTORY is an album full of more pros than cons, and even when things get a little stale it’s still a compelling listen. Dark Lunacy has created a potent concept piece that succeeds in illustrating the topic at hand and survives multiple listens. Head to the Fuel Records site where you can stream the album in full.