Darzamat is a protective deity guarding gardens and forests in Slavonic mythology. This makes a fitting name for a band that creates dense, forest-like compositions of gothic, doom, and black metal. Not typically my genre of choice, but I have always been fascinated by the melodies and cohesiveness that underlies the surface chaos of the black metal genre.
My first exposure to Darzamat came earlier this year, specifically, with their one-song contribution to the Metalmania 2005 DVD release. I thought the sound was intriguing, but it came off as frustratingly repetitive. Now, I have had the chance to listen to their latest full-length release, Transkarpatia.
The first thing that jumped out at me was the epic cinematic nature of the album. A dark, evil film filled with the occult and vampirism that plays out to a soundtrack of the damned. Whether or not there is an concept at work behind this album, I do not know. I would surmise that the answer is yes, but so many of the words are unintelligible to this listener.
The strongest evidence to the concept idea is the track "Letter from Hell" that comes midway through the album. It is a narrated account of the torture of an accused witch, and her subsequent, and vehement admission. It is an interesting interlude, if somewhat laughable in execution. It is performed by one half of the vocal duo, Nera, who puts a lot into the performance, but it somehow seems as if she is trying to channel Bela Lugosi's Bulgarian accent.
The album flows with a relentless combination of brutality and melody. An interesting combination to be sure. Fronting the band are Nera and her male vocal counterpart, Flauros. He has an odd voice, it is a rather high-pitched, throat-driven growl. It is a growl that I have come to expect from this style, but the higher pitch is new.