Black metal is a genre that benefits from having atmosphere, and more and more, we’re seeing bands that are using atmosphere to create a unique and powerful release. Dismal Kingdom, based out of Australia, put out their most recent album, “Downfall”, in May of 2016, and about a year and a half later, the album still feels like a refreshing, and must-listen release for fans of the black metal genre. “Presence” is the opening track on here, and while it serves the purpose of an introduction before the first full song, it has enough of its own presence (pun fully intended) to feel like more than just an intro. This leads directly into, “Dismal Kingdom”, which is the first cut on this album to show the band at full force, bringing some raw black metal, and mixing it with a dark atmosphere that will remain for the rest of the album. The writing on this is very solid, and while the production is raw, it feels very good.
The band knew what their sound needed in terms of production quality. “A Tyrant Overthrown” brings the old school vibe to the forefront, and is very fast paced. The drumming on here is worth noting, as the speed and proficiency is very good. However, this shouldn’t overshadow the guitar, or the overall composition of this song. The longest song on this album, “Wolves of the North” is a highlight worth mentioning. Opening with a soft guitar, the band then launches into a very fast, heavy, and dark song. This is a song that shows off many highlights of what the black metal genre is capable of. “Blood of my Blood” ends this release, and does so on a short but powerful note.
Opening with a slow and dark section, it at first seems like this is going to be just an outro track that offers just to put the album to rest at the end. However, it suddenly launches back into the black metal that populated the last few tracks, end keeps the atmosphere that carries this album up to the very end. This is a great release, one that I feel many are going to sleep on. If you like black metal, or have any interest in the genre, scope this out. It does feel a bit short, and left me wanting more, however, the content that’s here is very solid, and this is a release that shouldn’t be missed.
Overall Score: 9.0/10
Review by Sam Hookom