Darkestrah – Manas (Манас)

Darkestrah is a band that the most attentive listeners and, above all, less fossilized on listening to the usual known, will not have missed. Hailing from Kyrgyzstan (and already this constitutes an initial anomaly), ours naturally fits into that stylistic segment that masterfully blends black metal with ethnic folk atmospheres, in the groove similarly traced by Negură Bunget / Dordeduh. If Epos is unanimously considered the Kyrgyz’s stylistic peak, the subsequent The Great Silk Road had proved inferior precisely because the ancestral and bucolic aura that had made its predecessor special was partially sidelined. With Manas, inspired by the national epic poem Manas Destani, Darkestrah once again immerses us in the rural rituals of the (for us) mysterious Asian country, with songs that exude a charm at once ancient and dark. The trio’s ability to switch with ease from traditional chanting to blast beat rants with a corrosive scream attached is great, finally opening up to melodies of great emotional impact. The subdivision into songs appears to be more of a formal act than a substantive one; Manas is a continuum of suggestions, provided by the moving magic with which the past, represented by folk music, marries with the modernity of metal: the common thread that unites these two worlds seemingly at antipodes is the underlying melancholy that pervades the entire work; at more than one juncture one senses that Darkestrah wants to convey the sense of inescapable helplessness that one feels in the face of something destined with time to fade away until it disappears altogether: this is certainly true for folk traditions, passed down orally over the centuries as in the case of Manas, but also for the life of each individual and for that of the planet itself. Manas is an indispensable journey, musical and mystical, to a remote era and to places far away, not only geographically; a record like this cannot pass without leaving any trace, give it a chance and you will be fatally enchanted.

2013 – Osmose Productions 2016 – Narcoleptica Productions