Dalkhu have been among the most innovative firebrands of the underground Slovenian metal scene for well over a decade now. They’ve had a few comings and goings with personnel since their debut album Imperator saw daylight in 2010. Lamentation and Ardent Fire is their third album and has enough depth and quality to suggest that the current three members are the strongest so far. Even within their darkened explorative compositions the future is looking promising for Dalkhu.
The new album opens with the longest track, “Profanity Galore,” which quickly finds its tempo with a hefty chug thread that gathers momentum impressively, until as the vocals expand, it opens up into a broader sounder with a butcher’s hook acting like a medieval call to arms. The song develops into a spiralling black metal onslaught but one cleverly devised with vocals at ease within the myriad of interlocking rhythms that move with dramatic dexterity throughout, smooth in places but then with an underbelly of viciousness which asserts Dalkhu’s more demonic side.
It’s a rib pummelling opening and the Slovenian triumvirate quickly keep things moving on “I Am,” increasing the tempo right from the start with Kalki inflicting a battery of abuse from behind his drum kit.
There’s a hint of Darkthrone with Rime, which is another restless beast of a song, two layers of light and dark coexisting with the deep growls of Lucerus still given just the right amount of space to make their presence felt. The arcs shed by J.G.’s guitar really light up this song, while Kalki’s savage blastbeats keep the old school black/death alliance intact.
The largely instrumental divider “A Race Without Hope” works well, showcasing J.G’s bass and guitar skills elegantly bounded together to create a smouldering mountain over the top of which Lucerus contributes a few husky lines.
More incisive cuts kick in at the start of “Gaps of Existence,” but while the drums continue to land rabbit blows so quickly you can’t see them all coming, the rest of the band take a step back, allowing the song to ebb and flow a little bringing a more theatrical edge to the dynamic. “The Dead Sleep with their Eyes Open,” is more than just a great song title, it’s a great song too and one that opens with the Slovenians spitting blood under a hailstorm of Kalki’s brutal skin smacks. But what really stops you in your tracks is the unexpected passage of clean singing delivered in a juxtaposition with the traditional growls. It gives the song a powerful gothic quality within the swirling dervishes of the conventional black metal arena. It also hints at Dalkhu’s ability to move in new directions and work outside of the conventional BM template when the time feels right to do so.
Having previously flirted with established underground label such as Iron Bonehead and Satanath, Dalkhu have now been embraced by Godz ov War Productions who have added their usual flair for design with the album release. This is a strong album, with final number ‘Night’ ensuring a rousing and satisfying finish of Satyricon proprtions.
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