South Korean symphonic black metallers, Dark Mirror Ov Tragedy have released a new album called The Lord Ov Shadows via Sliptrick Records.
The Lord Ov Shadows was released on the 25th of January and is the band’s 4th full length and 6th release overall since their conception in 2003. Named after Nostradamus’ mirror, in which he sees dark and cursed futures, it is really exciting to get a chance to check out some black metal from a part of the world that doesn’t always reach this far. Dark Mirror Ov Tragedy are a 6 piece. Remaining founding members are, on guitars, Gash and on vocals, Material Pneuma. On drums we have Confyverse and on bass and backing vocals it’s Reverof. We also have a second guitarist, Senyt, and finally, on keys it’s Genie.
The Lord Ov Shadows has just 5 tracks on it but weighs in at over 47 minutes in length. Each track is a Chapter, starting with Chapter I – Creation of the Alter Self. Creation of the Alter Self is a 2 and a half minute orchestral instrumental. It sounds huge, reminiscent of someone like Dimmu Borgir. Piano melody builds in tension before being joined by choir singing and what sounds like a full orchestra before fading away to gentle melody and a single female vocal line. It certainly raises the expectations for what is to come and piques your interest.
Thankfully what follows easily lives up to those expectations. What follows is expansive, epic symphonic black metal. Massive orchestral sections blend beautifully with dark toned guitars and blasts of drums. Growled, guttural vocals roar out vehemently and you find yourself really drawn in to the all encompassing atmosphere. This makes little switches in style, little change ups or transitions all the more fresh and exhilarating as you don’t really expect them.
Songs like Chapter II – Possession suck you in to it’s building atmospheric style when a wicked solo appears out of the darkness. When this leads into a faster, rolling thunder riff, you can’t help but get involved and move your head. The slow down comes half way through when the track fades out and we get a violin solo. It sounds grand in every sense of the word and pulls you in to a dream state. It also makes the build up back to heavy even more exciting.
Chapter III – The Annunciation In Lust starts gently but ominously with eerie keyboard melody and slow tapped drums. The lead guitar that comes in with the vicious vocals is perfect. With the song being over 12 minutes long, there is plenty more to come. We move through many different phases. Big orchestral verses with heavy keyboard melody. Chunky riffing sections with blasting drums and venomous vocals. Sections where they all come together, sections where everything fades out leaving a guitar solo or keyboard melody. It is amazing, intense and a truly mesmerising sound.
Chapter IV – Acquainted with the Nocturnal Devastation gives you a breather after the previous 12 minute epic with a 2 minute orchestral break. It still fucking rocks though. A gentle symphony plays out with ominous undertones before siren like female vocals take over. They are joined by a ramping up of the orchestra and the addition of choir chants in the background. This leads directly into the last song, Chapter V – I Am the Lord Ov Shadows.
If you think 12 minutes is long for a song, you haven’t seen anything yet. This track is over 20 mins long. Well, kind of. Despite showing as a runtime of 20 minutes, it is actually “only” around 16 minutes long followed by a 3 minute gap before restarting. Or maybe it is a bonus song. If this had been a CD, the last track would probably have ended and it would keep on playing but that doesn’t work so well on digital. Instead showing as the same song still playing. That makes the 3 minute gap seem a little odd and out of place.
Anyway, away from that and back to the song. I Am the Lord Ov Shadows takes you on another journey through epic soundscapes and dark metal tones. A glorious, almost folk violin solo is a real highlight across yet another masterpiece. Drums rain thunder down as the vocals spit fire in one section before a ripping solo comes in. That fades out to leave you with haunting melody. It really is more of a journey than a song and a fitting way to close an impressive album.
The Lord Ov Shadows is immensely impressive. Musically this is everything good about symphonic black metal. Brilliant composition and exciting song structure. Glorious musicianship, dark and forceful vocals, fiery solos, violins, piano, choirs. there is so much in here. Having a lot of elements doesn’t naturally make you good though. It is using them in the correct way that makes the songs and Dark Mirror Ov Tragedy are masters of that. They clearly know when to show restraint, when to go full on and how to expertly transition from section to section. I found this whole album to be fresh, exciting and exhilarating. As my first taste of Dark Mirror Ov Tragedy, I am hugely impressed and can’t wait to get stuck in to their back catalogue. Something I will be starting on immediately.
The Lord Ov Shadows is out now on all the usual streaming platforms. You can can also grab a digital copy from Dark Mirror Ov Tragedy’s Bandcamp page here. Find out more on the band at their website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. You can also check out some of their music on YouTube, here.
The Lord Ov Shadows by Dark Mirror Ov Tragedy (Sliptrick Records)
The Final Score - 10/10