When Darkher hit our turntables back in 2016, the RMR deckhands – at first – thought that this would be some trve competition to Extreme Metal acts like Myrkur. But Realms turned out to be more Loreena McKennit than it would ever hit Amalie Bruun’s backyard.
And whilst that may be so, her depiction of frugal dark and subdued doom continued to fascinate us. Her minimalistic streak, those carefully crafted blurbs of tasty doom stuck with us like some ice-cold and wet power glue to our skin.
Now, Jayn Maiven (formerly Wissenberg) made us wait for new material for a long time, to the point that the RMR crew had the band written off pretty much. But finally, The Buried Storm saw the light of day in 2022. A record that stuck itself to our frontal lobes with frightening speed and almost ethereal power. Cerebral machinations.
First off, there is now some serious juice behind the trademark whispish wailing and howling. A consistent flow that is testament to a pretty astonishing (and newly acquired) maturity. Where before, you almost caught yourself a treble high, The Buried Storm now paints darker vibes in starker colors. Realms sported some quiet desperation, yet this record truly sets a new standard for Post Metal Doom. A style that is subtle as it is truly powerful.
In other words, Jayn Maiven here moved out of the wake of Enya and McKennit and charted a new course to her very own horizons. And she did this by weaving a tasty net of experimental and often folksy passages that boast a much better integration of harsher, or may I say more metallic, passages. Electric guitar subtly applied with a more pronounced drum presence. Albeit that the low-end contributions are still way too sparse for this reviewer’s taste.
It is thus of no surprise to me that some metal blogs out there claim The Buried Storm to be on their territory.1) And this, when Darkher more sounds as earthy and mysterious as some distant incarnation of Wardruna without the archaic instruments. An outfit that delivers its wares straight into your subconscious, and artfully so. It is of course also true that Maiven managed to inject a metallic sheen into that doomy soundscape of hers. In a way, the band’s work often sounds like a soft version of Sidus Atrum without the virulent metal.
And it’s not only her trademark multi-layered vocals that do the trick. Subtle inclusions of electric guitar, progression where there should be none, and a clever use of the aforementioned drums will do the trick. You’ll also detect a crafty and almost cunning use of orchestration and synth elements. A technique used to drum up some sense of unease and mystique in a sea of many shades of gray.
All of this comes with a pretty stainless production that greedily feeds on a tasty flow. Yet another astonishing knack of that particular artist. That said, The Buried Storm is best consumed as a whole. That is where the record will display all those dark flavors like chocolate-coated strawberries with vintage champagne.
Ultimately though, the RMR crew marveled at the progression in quality, muscle, and – yes – mastery. In a way, Realms still appeared to include a lot of flaws that made us question its presence on this here ‘zine. The Buried Storm however is another story. Concept, structure, flow, production – all of that improved to an astonishing extent. RMR himself often wondered at the artist’s uncanny ability to coherently blend often folksy ethereal atmospherics with modern tools to project heavy music. And this is not something that we often detected over here.
Now sit back, pop the record into your music machine, and let Darkher weave her intricate web of delicious and darkly menacing soundscapes. There’s a storm abroad, just offshore and out of sight. But have a care, too much of that specific brew might prove addictive. But then again, this may be a good thing, too. Right?
Ed’s note: The record made it onto the 2022 Top 10 Records. Congrats!
|1.||Which it ain’t, you gits. -Ed.|