Origin: Kyrgyzstan Saudi Arabia
Genre: Epic Black Metal Folk Black Metal Pagan Black Metal
Label: Shaytan Productions
Shaytan Productions presents a very interesting split EP, entitled “Akyr Zaman / Tajer Al Punqia” by two unique Asian bands. Darkestrah originating from Kyrgyzstan (now they reside in Germany) and Al-Namrood from Saudi Arabia. Both bands combine their native traditional music with black metal, each one with a very different and distinctive way. Darkestrah’s music has a more epic pagan atmospheric approach, while Al-Namrood have a more oriental folk sound. The EP lasts for only 22 minutes, including one long song by Darkestrah and a two-parts song for Al-Namrood.
The opener of the album is “Akyr Zaman“, which is an over 12 minutes epos from Darkestrah. It is a new reinterpretation of the composition that was originally included in their 2005 album “Embrace of Memory“. This is the first song of the band with its new singer Merkith, after Kriegtalith’s departure. So I was more than curious to listen to it, since Kriegtalith’s wonderful vocals was one of the band’s trademarks, and she was also one of their founding members. Thankfully enough, Darkestrah continue on the same style and “spirit”, offering us another amazing song. “Akyr Zaman” is a long epic composition in the characteristic sound of the band. Melodic pagan black metal, with the perfect “color” in the guitars (at least for my taste), and a unique atmosphere, masterfully changing from pure epic to a quite esoteric folk shamanic mood. The use of melodic epic synths and original traditional stringed instruments add a lot to this atmosphere. I wouldn’t be honest if I don’t mention that I miss Kriegtalith’s vocals, but the truth is that Merkith’s voice has already fit perfectly to the band’s sound! A great beginning for the band’s new era and a perfect appetizer for their recently released full-length album “Turan“.
The next 2 songs belong to Al-Namrood and the change in the mood is more than obvious! Compared to the beautiful melodic sound of Darkestrah, “Tajer Al Punqia” begins with a much more aggressive approach and a raw “ugly” sound! After the first minute of the song, where the brutal vocals of Humbaba are totally dominant, the characteristic local traditional instruments are added, making the whole result much more melodic. The song moves in the typical oriental raw black metal style of the band and I think this is one of the most aggressive compositions of theirs. Maybe it’s the contrast with Darkestrah’s sound. The second part of “Tajer Al Punqia” however is somehow slower, moving in mid-tempo rhythm, with a more melodic folk approach. Al-Namrood remain faithful to their personal style and the truth is that their sound is totally unique and distinctive. Arabian folk music, in its darkest expression, is very dominant in their sound. It’s not only the tunes and scales of their compositions, but also the extended use of local instruments (wind instruments, drums and strings), punctuated even more by the heavily accented (and really loud in the mix) vocals, sung in their native language.
“Akyr Zaman / Tajer Al Punqia” is a really rare release, presenting two great “ambassadors” of epic pagan folk oriented Asian black metal, each one offering a quite different version of the genre. I strongly recommend this album, as well as the complete discography of both bands. The EP is released by Shaytan Productions in a limited to 500 copies jewel-case CD edition, including an 8-page booklet with wonderful artwork. You can find more details for both bands following the links below.
Darkestrah official page
Darkestrah @ Facebook
Darkestrah @ VK
Darkestrah @ Bandcamp
Al-Namrood official page
Al-Namrood @ Facebook
Al-Namrood @ Twitter
Al-Namrood @ Stereokiller
Darkestrah / Al-Namrood – Akyr Zaman / Tajer Al Punqia @ Bandcamp