Dark Mirror Ov Tragedy – The Lord Ov Shadows (2019) – Review

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Why is it that these Extreme Metal outfits always have that need to wear out their drummer? Overly elaborate drum patterns will just work them into a heart attack.

Just watch some of the videos that start with the stick wielder and their pained expression. So far I have seen none really with a heavenly smile on their faces. And to add insult to injury, I openly heard some bands joking about that, by the way.

You’ll mostly find that situation in these epically charged and overly bombastic works of operatic Symphonic Metal. And with those bands living in pseudo-Black Metal fantasy worlds of their own making, trying to paint a starkly dark universe of ersatz-evil. Body paint and ludicrous costumes included.

But then, you get real masters of the trade.

Those whose passion it is to haunt stages and soundscapes. And this with an almost ridiculous amount of instruments and elements, because they can. Today’s mixing boards are mighty big, and the number of tracks is almost limitless. Plus the exaggerated, but usually well-executed theatrics. Because those form part of that particular scene, too.

Dark Mirror Ov Tragedy and their newest epic horror tale The Lord Ov Shadows really falls slam into this category. And no, they don’t hail from the Netherlands, nor the UK. This band joins us from Korea, not a country usually associated with a livid Extreme Metal scene. Looks like we gotta go and hunt them metal bands out there in Asia. Be gone you Scandinavian Black Metal crackerjacks, you’ve just been burned.

Now, The Lord Ov Shadows is one of these records that jolted yours truly into writing mode directly. And that has become exceedingly rare. Not for lack of material, but truly because you often find much of the same. Yet here you can feel true talent, passion, and uncanny attention to detail in one place. Not something we often find these days.

Now, if Dark Mirror Ov Tragedy say that Cradle of Filth is one of their influences, then they really mean it. The only difference is that whilst Dani Filth’s screams start to annoy you after about five minutes, Dark Mirror Ov Tragedy impersonates them so well, you’ll ask for more. Which is ridiculous, thinking of it.

Or just ridiculously good.

But then these Korean dark warriors actually usurp soundscapes usually occupied by Carach Angren and the likes. You know, them epic metallers of the elaborate dress and darkly ominous sounds from Holland. Only again, the artfulness of Dark Mirror Ov Tragedy‘s tune by far outshines the latter. At least from what I heard in The Lord Ov Shadows. And we did not even mention the outrageous trespass on Melodic Metal territory. But who cares, once you are having fun. 

That said, there is a certain level of sluggishness in this brick wall of many sounds. To the point that the mix almost lost some of the elements thrown into the fray. I daresay, they just about avoided their album to become some sort of meaningless sound salad. But avoid it they did. And again, this is small potatoes, and nowhere as bad as in Within Temptation‘s latest that almost got the better of us.

And here’s an Extreme Metal band that did not forget its roots. The Lord Ov Shadows sports some serious shredding along the way. Try 03 Chapter III. The Annunciation In Lust, somewhere in the first third or so. But in truth, you’ll find serious riffs and solos kind of scattered throughout this epic piece.

We’ll even forgive them for the classical intro.

Speaking of which: I have rarely seen such skillful use of classical instruments in a metal piece. Usually, you get this operatic bullshit from those symphonic bands. But here, Dark Mirror Ov Tragedy even included a soprano piece in 04 Chapter IV. Acquainted With The Nocturnal Devastation, and it is exceedingly well done. No killing you with choirs of varying degrees of disaster.

Which leads me to the amazing flow The Lord Ov Shadows displays. You’ll never quite know what epic part of the record you are in. This thing just moves you through this soundscape in a trance. To wake up once the music stops, and you hope that all the chairs are still there. Or at least just yours. Who cares about the others, right?

In conclusion, Dark Mirror ov Tragedy created a truly dark and epic slab of Extreme Metal, just dripping with abject juiciness. And they really showed that epic and bombastic pieces can be artfully done. And how did their drummer fare finally? Pretty well, I’d say, and quite unfazed by the harsh realities of the trade. So, that’s proof of the pudding right there. 

The Lord Ov Shadows for sure is nothing for the faint of heart. And you will need to take your time to let the record sink in. But – boy – if you are an adept of Extreme and Black Metal with an operatic twist, then you’ve got to give this a listen or five.

Ed’s note: And congratulations – the record made it onto the Intermittent Digest – Tome IX AND the 2019 Top 10 Records.

Record Rating: 9/10 | Label: Sliptrick Records | Web: Official Site
Release date: 19 September 2019

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