Darkest Era – Wither On The Vine: Album Review

Darkest Era break their silence with their first album in nearly a decade. Wither On The Vine is oh so very welcome.

Released: 30th September 2022

Label: Candlelight Records

Format: CD / Vinyl / Digital

It has been an awfully long time since Darkest Era put out an album, but by god it is great to have them back.

For anyone that knows Darkest Era and their music, you know that you will be moved by their music. It is emotive, sombre, devastating and passionate; all shrouded in a melancholy mist.

One Thousand Years Of Night opens up the album with ominous and foreboding guitar melodies and a solemnity captured with brooding strings. Before the song hits the two minute mark, the sound is blessed with soaring guitars, haunting melodies and rumbling bass that shudders. It is unmistakably, Darkest Era. Another song from Wither On The Vine that fits in with this category is A Path Made Of Roots. Like metal contemporaries like Winterfylleth, the band take nature as the source and twist it into something truly thunderous.

Floodlands is one of the lead singles for the album and has, not for the only time in Wither On The Vine, a hint of Iron Maiden. Whilst Iron Maiden are a heavy influence, there is so much more at play. The thrashy/black metal pace of certain sections of the song mix things up. Tithonus, presumably named after the immortal figure from Greek mythology, follows. It broods and builds to an unflinching crescendo which is enhanced further by the hypnotic music video that accompanies it. The guitar lines of the introduction have a Floydian feel and Krum’s vocals display an emphatic range.

The Collapse feels like a ‘side b’ start. A traversing guitar melody blasts out of the blocks and Daniel O’Toole’s bass shines further. There is more of an alt-metal feel to aspects of the song than others here, but that is no bad thing. Darkest Era are a band that will appeal to fans of the more extreme a la Primordial, as well as fans of bands like Smashing Pumpkins.

With Tragedy In Our Blood has arguably the heaviest opening. This is blood and thunder stuff; the towering guitars of Ade Mulgrew and Sarah Wieghell make a huge statement. Mystical and ethereal voices create a spooky atmosphere before the band settle into their trademark stomp. Cameron Åhslund-Glass pounds the drums in glorious fashion, making this one of many standout tracks on the album. Krum again reaches for the skies with his vocal power.

If With Tragedy In Our Blood has the heaviest opening, The Ashen Plague has the most furious. A pure, heads down neck wrecker of an opening bludgeons. You would expect to hear Ihsahn or Nergal opening their lungs but again, Krum puts his unique spin on things. There aren’t too many guitar solos on Wither On The Vine but The Ashen Plague has a brilliantly paced one in amongst the Thin Lizzy / Iron Maiden stylings of ‘the gallop.’ The title track finishes off the album in doomier fashion. Swathes of guitars wash over you. It is another facet of the sound that Darkest Era offer on this most superb of albums.

So, after so long, the magic still works in amongst Darkest Era. Wither On The Vine is a welcome reminder of a splendid band, but also of the fact that time and rest can bring fresh perspective and vigour. Hopefully we won’t have to wait so long before the band reconvene and continue to produce more great music.

Listen to/watch Tithonus from Darkest Era, below.

Darkest Era: Website / Facebook / Instagram / Twitter

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