Darkspace – Darkspace III I [Switzerland, Black / Ambient] (2014)

Avantgarde Music | 9-6-14

Avantgarde Music | 9-6-14

This is how the universe collapses. Darkspace is similar to Dead Congregation, as they are both relatively well known metal bands that have legacies attached to their records. Darkspace’s legacy is rooted in their interesting exploration of ambient black metal, as well as one of their guitarist’s work in the seminal side project Paysage D’ Hiver. It also helps that the band has an air of mystery, with their releases becoming increasingly more sparse. Darkspace’s previous record Darkspace III was released in 2008, and for the past four odd years fans have been awaiting the arrival of whatever the fourth installment would be called. In thematic fashion, the band’s announcement of their new record came in cryptic transmissions, with the full album being released almost immediately. I think I would have been happy with anything but this is something else entirely.

Darkspace makes music that are pieces to a whole. Since their first release Darkspace I, and even their 2002 demo Darkspace -I, the band has released sequentially numbered tracks that vary in length but seem to be a part of the same cold universe. To add to this, the band seldom releases lyrics, save for dialogue and quotes from literature, philosophy, and film texts. The band’s dedication to the exploration of the coldest recesses of space is extraordinary, as sometimes the most horrifying things can dwell in the limitless expanses of darkness. Darkspace has kept this mystique strong for more than ten years and the fact that their records keep getting more and more interesting gives me hope for a century of darkness over this galaxy.

On a long enough timeline, the Darkspace albums have become more and more dynamic with their production. Darkspace III cemented the full range this band was capable of with heavy guitar tones and a dynamic range of atmosphere. Rather than the high end swirls that marked their first two albums, Dakrspace III is lower and deeper in a contrast that makes the whole experience immersive. Darkspace III I steps into its place as one of the most effective records of the band’s career with a heavier drum machine and even more panoramic horror. Split into three tracks ranging from 18 to 27 minutes, the landscapes in “4.18,” “4.19” and “4.20” are something fitting of deep cosmic terror — one that could only be achieved by a band who is probably not of this earth.

If this review sounds like it was written by a fan, it is because Darkspace has achieved a non traditional thematic scope that is backed by outstanding releases. The presentation of this record, combined with their stellar past releases, make it an event that is either on a trajectory into deep space or something coming back from its depths. Given that the records are getting increasingly clearer in their sound, I imagine Darkspace X to be more horrifying when it is released in 2022.