Epic shamanic pagan black metallers Darkestrah from Kyrgyzstan released in 2013 their new masterpiece “Манас“, the fifth full-length album of the band. Darkestrah were formed in 1999 by Asbath in Bishkek of Kyrgyzstan, while currently the band members live in Germany. Their music has always been deeply influenced and inspired by their homeland’s culture. Darkestrah have signed to Osmose Productions and “Манас” is their second work released by the French label, after the EP “Khagan” in 2011.
While the characteristic sound of its music remains the same, the band is constantly experimenting, exploring and adding new elements in its songs. “Манас” includes 5 songs, lasting almost for 41 minutes. The album is based on “Manas Destanı” a Kyrgyzian epic poem that tells the ancient story of Manas, a young warrior who gathers the remnants of Kyrgyz people into one strong tribe, leading them to strength and freedom. The band plays epic atmospheric pagan black metal with folk shamanic influences in its sound. They are equally melodic and extreme, having the perfect balance in their sound, at least for my taste! Their production is very good, mixing perfectly their unique epic melodic guitars with synths and acoustic instruments. And while the sound is much better now, the band is still respecting its underground past.
The opening track “Манас-Mститель” is a typical example of their music, with some wonderful atmospheric narrations and many brilliant epic synth melodies. The next 2 tracks “Память” and “Победа” are two very melancholic compositions, where the band is experimenting with wonderful dialogues between Kriegtalith’s amazing extreme black metal screams and emotional clean female vocals!! Darkestrah are lucky enough to have her in the vocals, since in my opinion she is one of the best vocalist of the genre. The addition of some atmospheric ambient passages and acoustic traditional instruments, like cello, komuz and mandola, is breathtaking! The fourth song is the 4-minute ambient acoustic instrumental “Кыргызстан“, where the band is paying a very atmospheric tribute to its homeland. The album closes with the 11-minute saga “Манас-Батыр“, a composition that actually concentrates the best elements of the album in a unique epic atmospheric melancholic masterpiece. Of course all lyrics of the album are in their native language, included in the CD booklet.
Darkestrah is a band that I simply adore, there is something in their sound and melodies that just works perfectly for me! I am waiting with great anticipation each new release and ”Манас” managed to meet my expectations. If you like epic pagan black metal with shamanic atmosphere, you shouldn’t miss this work. Luckily the band is signed to a big label, like Osmose Productions, so their album is easy to find. “Манас” comes in a standard jewel-case edition CD with 8-page booklet, as well as in black and red vinyl editions. Cover artwork is by Elly Muerte Arts, while layout is by Kriegtalith and Asbath. You can follow the official pages below and find more info and sound samples of this amazing band.