Black Metal Trance part V: Darkspace

When a black metal band lists Juno Reactor among only 4 visible friends in their MySpace profile you can probably conclude that they’re somewhat more prone to electronic experimentation than the average band. This is indeed the case with Swiss trio Darkspace, who rely more on synthesizers than any of the bands mention previously in this series, and possible more than any in the genre. There are still guitars though, but most of the time they’re played to sound like a monolith of jagged drone buzz, so blown out that you cannot possibly decipher riffs or even chords. It’s just howling wall of reverbed black metal distortion.

The rhythm section in Darkspace is handled by a drum machine, which further emphasizes the cybernetic space-terror theme their name and sparse graphics implies. A drum machine also allows them to play faster than would have been possible otherwise, which they take advantage of quite often. Some pieces are so fast in fact that the drums too turn into a diffuse swarm of menacing drone, with only the vocals as any point of progressive or rhythmic reference. But the singer sounds as though he’s a few solar systems off into the distance – sometimes it’s hard to tell if he’s still going at it or if you’re hearing some weird overtones from the guitars.

As with the previous bands I’ve written about, Darkspace make some long songs. Even longer than any of the others actually, if you disqualify the ambient track off of Filosofem. Dark Space II starts of with one that clocks in at 23:41 for example. With samples from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001, this is truly cyber black metal, sort of like if Satan existed in the form of the coldness of the universe, or dark matter or entropy or something like that.

Pictured above are their three albums in their normal versions from Avantgarde Music, but there are limited versions too (more on I totally recommend that you get all three. Listening to them all in sequence, while certainly not for the faint of heart, is a monumental experience. It’s all so amazingly hypnotising and mesmerising that you have no choice but to be sucked in past its event horizon, and be lost in the black hole that is Darkspace.

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