Review: Jackal’s Truth ”Dominus Silvae” [Passage Records]

Review: Jackal’s Truth ”Dominus Silvae” [Passage Records]

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Too Late to the Game #1 – A Promise

By the start of the year 1997, a new born band named Jackal’s Truth released their debut demo Dominus Silvae to the world and hereby placed another crude weapon to the already well-equipped arsenal of Hellenic black metal. A little late to the game, this young band only managed to release two consecutive demos before dissolving again, put to death by a massive decrease of general output and lack of fan interest that nearly eradicated the Greek black metal scene by the late 90’s/early 2000’s.

It’s a shame that the band did not last any longer, because the quality standard set by Dominus Silvae was already pretty high for such newcomers. Expanding on the early Varathron/Rotting Christ-ideas (His Majesty At The Swamp and Passage to Arcturo, respectively) with an increased focus on keyboard presence and additional female vocals, this debut adds more of a gothic spin to the archetypal sound. The way these elements are woven into the aural space do feel as if they’d been written by an already-adept hand with a clear vision in mind.

Jackal’s Truth do not sound like amateurs at all. Even production-wise, this demo does not need to hide behind its earlier brethren. Having a real drummer featured on a recording was not a given in Greece around that time, with even the big names resorting to drum machines due to either a lack of funds or studios not possessing the equipment to allow professional drum recording (even the infamous Storm Studios responsible for producing the earliest Hellenic masterpieces like Rotting Christ’s Thy Mighty Contract – did not utilize real drums in the early/mid-90’s). While these drum parts could use a more audible bass drum and less attack on the snare, it’s still a powerful, driving performance being delivered here, giving this more of a band-effort feel than some of the earlier releases of the scene.

Offering colorful and varied guitar-textures predominantly rooted in traditional heavy metal, there’s little to complain about here for the old-school black metal fan who’s not afraid of some classic melody in their extreme cocktail, yet without having to sacrifice their craving for ancient atmospheres and 80’s extreme metal tactics. Even though the vocalist’s performance is not nearly as memorable and unique as the ones offered on the subgenre’s earlier milestones, it’s sufficient enough to not weaken the overall impact on the listener.

One more release would follow this demo’s promising exhibit, expanding (and sadly occasionally diluting) the formula being shown here to even more professional levels before the untimely demise of Jackal’s Truth would turn their first fruitful steps into their final ones, with no real chance of ever achieving the kind of recognition they deserve.

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Marko Köfler
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