Reviewed: February 2021
Released: 2021, independent
Reviewer: Kat Knite
Hailing from Brisbane, Australia, a metal quintet by the fitting name of Darklore release their brand new album from fantastical realms. The Evil of Man combines symphonic and melodic elements with a recognisable blackened thrash metal foundation, cemented by lyrics that call upon worlds of fantasy like Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings.
With song names like ‘Castle Black’ , ‘Wings of Fire’, and ‘Cure of Frostmourne’, it is easy to see the immediate appeal to the band’s aesthetic and dark, dream-like presentation. Cinematic synths and strings transport the listener to those very lands of imagination while technical and proficient musicianship from the guitars and rhythm maintain a turbulent soundtrack for an unknown journey full of danger and triumph. While moments throughout the album shine a beaming sliver of light on the vast potential of such a grand spectacle of sound, as a whole The Evil of Man is much less enthralling than I had hoped, despite its captivating descriptors.
‘The White Hand’ kicks the album off with an epic mood, with vocals rumbling forward like an avalanche of deep growls set into motion from a mountain of resonant and balanced sound. Moving through into ‘The Raven Returns’, the layering of instruments atop a beat that switches to double-time is messy and disruptive to what I imagine it could be… In ‘Forlorn the Light’ the band introduces the ambience of rain, swirling as it builds to a thunderstorm – a beautiful beginning to a song that becomes lost on me when deja vu of the previous track’s cacophony repeats itself. Following in time to provide somewhat of a release, ‘Castle Black’ is relatively relaxed, and as the drums start to break in and the song emerges full-force, the feeling is uplifting and full.
One of the most interesting tracks, ‘The Empire Has Fallen’, is an example of Darklore‘s creativity, particularly with the arrangement of this unusual song. Choral melodies add an ethereal layer to the title track, ‘The Evil of Man’, but though I am drawn in and hopeful, the rest of the song proves to be too chaotic to take shape with the swell of emotion I’d like to hear. In the end, ‘The Curse of Frostmourne’ wraps up the album in what can be imagined as an epic 15-minute finish. Beautiful low strings in the beginning follow a gorgeous chord progression, escalating with the drums. Wishing for more of these stunning melodic moments in the atmosphere of this piece, I am greeted by almost Celtic-sounding lead guitar riffs. However, despite a promising idea, it starts to become uninspiring and lose its catch, the 15 minutes dragging on with no further call to the soul.
Overall, The Evil of Man is good, but not great – potential moments of expansion for alluring musical incantations overshadowed by a noisy and somewhat repetitive album.