Darkest Era

The Last Caress of Light

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Northern Irish five-piece Darkest Era were scouted for Metal Blade by Primordial frontman Alan Averill, and the latter's pioneering influence on the Celtic metal genre can be heard clearly on the Fermanagh band's debut full-length release, The Last Caress of Light. Opening track "The Morrigan" calls to mind the fusion of traditional Irish music and epic black metal that Primordial have made their trademark for two decades, though Krum's softer, more melodic vocals make for a less dark feel. Lyrically, the song (and album in general) draws extensively from the female-worship of the Ulster Cycle in Irish folklore -- a common theme for Irish rock groups, but one they pull off with particular passion and vigor. There are strong echoes of Slough Feg and compatriots Thin Lizzy on more traditional heavy metal tracks like "Beneath the Frozen Sky" and "Heathen Burial," though the middle of the album does drag slightly as repetitiveness sets in. "Poem to the Gael" offers a much-needed change of pace, taking the form of a traditional Irish ballad with a slight hint of Opeth's dark folk in the mix, before the title track closes the album out in a proggier vein. With only two of the album's eight tracks clocking in below six minutes, the middle of the album in particular does become overly repetitive, but Last Caress of Light is a distinctive and assured album in a still underpopulated genre.

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