I honestly don’t know what it is about 2023, but every album I review is better than the other. It could be that the bands are still trying to catch up on what lockdown took from them, or just that the bar is getting higher and higher. Whatever the reason might be, it is quite splendid for reviewers like me to enjoy some thoroughly crafted records. And that is exactly what Blackbriar has in store for us with their sophomore album, “A Dark Euphony”, to be released via Nuclear Blast on September 29th.
From the production to the mixing, from the arrangements to the balance of the instruments and the voice, “A Dark Euphony” is neatly prepared. I personally would have given a bit more space in the mixing to the bass, but that is just to my own liking. Everything else is smooth and very homogeneous.
Blackbriar‘s trademark is the gothic atmosphere they create in each track, and it’s even more present in this record. The melancholic voice of Zora blends with these gloomy melodies, making a breach in the heart of whoever is listening. I was especially moved by “The Evergreen and Weeping Tree“, and if only they had decided to keep the whole track as a ballad, I would have been even more generous in my rating.
The band, though, is not just a simple gothic metal act: they also use many symphonic elements, and this time, they also experimented a bit with folk instruments (“Far Distant Land“). I applaud their creativity, and I hope that they will not stop trying out new combinations and styles. They have the talent and the right intuition, so I’m sure it will be a success.
As the album progresses, it becomes clear that “A Dark Euphony” is more than just a collection of songs; it’s a narrative, a story told through music. The ebb and flow of the tracks create a very intimate experience, as if the listener is traversing through a world both enchanting and foreboding. Prepare yourselves for some heart-wrecking yet irresistible themes; another gem in this record is “Thumbelina“, a visceral journey through the darkest corners of the heart. The weight of the music mirrors the emotional intensity of the lyrics, but the contrast that happens with Zora’s light timbre is the best thing of it all.
In conclusion, “A Dark Euphony” is the confirmation that Blackbriar is a band that’s in for the long run, and they’re not afraid to show us what they can do. For those who appreciate music that ventures into the shadows and emerges with a sense of beauty and mystery, this album is a must-listen.
1. An Unwelcome Guest
2. Far Distant Land
3. Spirit of Forgetfulness
4. Bloody Footprints in the Snow
5. The Evergreen and Weeping Tree
7. My Soul’s Demise
8. We Make Mist
10. Forever and a Day
11. Crimson Faces