Review: Dunkelnacht – Empires of Mediocracy

Dunkelnacht – Empires of Mediocracy (Non Serviam Records)
Review by Milos Sebalj

Vive la France, and its Metal scene, as long as there are albums like this one. One just might expect an album like this by a 15 years old band. Their influences are clearly on display, yet their music combines them so that there is a clear view of the path Dunkelnacht threads on their own. Furthermore, the internet provides an interesting information that this started out as an ambient project. And why is that important? Let’s find out.

The French quartet on their third full length presents a variety of styles, all mixed into a highly coherent sound that should have a vast application to different fans. Brutal Death Metal meets, melodic variations, (symphonic) Black Metal passages, technical displays… In short, extreme Metal placed in a blender, switched on and poured over some ice. Shaken, not stirred. And it is quite tasty. Add some of those ambient interludes (not too many) and you’ve got yourself a nice 47 minutes of music. A bit softer that Belphegor, less of a show-off than Behemoth, more Metal than Dimmu Borgir… So, somewhere right in between.

Now, the “somewhere in between” approach might just mean that Dunkelnacht will probably end up in the average pile. However, while they could use more “hooks” to reach the popularity status of the aforementioned bands, they certainly have their fair share of memorable moments to place them above the “let’s just play some music and have fun” bunch. The French show a high level of creative imagination, necessary in such mixes. Arranging their tunes so they do not become boring or overly pretentious. Skilled musicians they certainly are, and now they prove they have skill enough to compose.

I have no idea how hard it would be to make an album like this sound a bit “dirtier”. The production is way too clean for my taste, although it does not stray into “plastic”. I can only guess they needed to sound like this so that all the nuances are clearly heard. It might just ward off some of the more close-minded fans. Still, I guess the ones who are in love with their influences will be delighted with “Empires of Mediocracy” as well. Plus, the music “hides” behind a beautiful (is that even a word in extreme Metal?) cover artwork.

What more do you need? Well, if you are in search of Blasphemy sound-alikes you will probably be very disappointed. On the other hand, if you are looking for a more thought-provoking combination of Death and Black Metal, this one is certainly for you.