Originally released in 1996 via Faithless Productions, now it suddenly returns, completely remastered, with yet another masterpiece cover and a bonus track. It’s Black Metal, very symphonic, with both enchanting female vocals as well as a Black Metal and some clean male vox, but not getting generic, still maintaining a nicely own atmosphere. Just take the opener “”In The Flames Of Black Art””, with very opulent keyboards, more rhythmic guitars in the background and some croaks of Flauros. On the following “”Legend?”” we additionally get some clean male vocals and for the first time Kate’s enchanting voice, together with some Black Metal eruptions, still combined with symphonic keyboards and also calmer interludes. While these eruptions for themselves would not be anything that much noteworthy, these interludes as excellent contrast and in conjunction with Kate’s voice give DARZAMAT their quite own atmosphere. An excellent example for this is the great duo of “”The Storm”” and “”Seven Golden Fires””, which highlight the compository class of the Polish trio. The re-mastering has done “”In The Flames Of Black Arts”” a lot of good. DARZAMAT’s debut definitely is a worthy addition to the collection, but have to be able to deal with harsh vocals and extensive keyboards
“”In the Flames of Black Art”” – 3:53
“”Legend”” – 7:34
“”Secret Garden”” – 4:52
“”Inevitable Eclipse”” – 2:56
“”Seven Golden Fires”” – 8:17
“”Theatre of Rapture”” – 6:41
“”The Dream”” – 4:14
“”Storm”” – 2:32
Katarzyna “”Kate”” Banaszak – vocals
Rafal “”Flauros”” GÃ³ral – vocals, lyrics
Szymon Struzek – bass guitar, programming, compositions
The Best old Symphonic Black Metal ever
Theatrical and softer approach to SBM – 90%
In the Flame of Black Art has a sound that is quite rare to find, even within black metal. The band uses a strange, yet effective style. The output is a softer sounding symphonic black metal record, very similar in style to Absidia’s Triumphal Way of Eternal Gods, released four years after this album, but both are within the same time period of the genre. Aside from both playing the same genre, they utilize a relatively minimalistic production, contrary to what more famous bands are doing in the present. This gives the record a darker and antique feeling, which was what the band was hoping to achieve. The major theme conveyed in the music has to be medieval related, as the whole album feels like a black metal play or theatre production, a theme not too rare in Gothic and symphonic metal genre.
The band comes from Poland and started in 1995, a time when Emperor’s “”In the Nightside Eclipse”” was just released; Arcturus had just released its first few demos along with Bal-Sagoth; Nokturnal Mortum released its debut like Samael. While these early albums were some of the first in the symphonic black metal subgenre, it also makes Darzamat one of the first bands to pioneer into a new genre, which gives the album incredible uniqueness. Something that tends to happen in many musical styles is that bands imitate and simply give more of what is already out there, often with much less quality, With much room for exploration in unknown territory, Darzamat take us back in time to a dark opera of sorts.
Although symphonic black metal is very dynamic and can be approached from many angles, a lot of bands stick to the simple formula of average song length. However, for more atmospheric works, such as this, the song length is over 6 minutes. This gives the band a lot of room for the songs to grow and captivate the listener. There is something very erotic about the songs themselves, which ties into the somewhat pornographic cover. The melodies are astonishingly catchy, leaving you hungry for more. The sound itself is slow, melancholic, erotic, yet peaceful and beautiful. The incredibly distorted electric guitar gives a much needed layer of heaviness, yet it never dominates the sound or compromises it. Once the guitar gets going, it rarely stops, except in a few moments when it lets the keyboards or vocals take a shine. Both as a base and background, the guitar never disappoints. However due to the lack of punch in the guitar, it is hard to restrict this album as just symphonic black metal, since it also takes many elements from symphonic metal. It is much lighter than most symphonic black metal albums out there, and just makes it that much more special. It is worth noting that if you were to remove the guitars, and drums, it would be almost like a real play and would fall into other non-metal genres, which shows that “”sounding heavier’ isn’t always the only way to achieve success.
In the Flame of the Black Arts was unique in 1997, and still is today. Only a minority of bands have released albums that even come close to the style chosen, as most bands to choose either a heavier approach, with loud and powerful vocals, or simplistic and shorter songs with less symphonic elements. Speaking of vocals, there is much variety to be found; there are raspy black metal vocals utilized mainly, female clean singing, and male melancholic-like vocals. The doses of each are pretty good, and the black metal vocals are the best ones here, yet the others are utilized strategically and enhance the music. And in all cases they are kept to a lower volume than the guitars or keyboards. Overall the album delivers its statement in a solid manner, theatrical symphonic black metal with a softer approach. The inclusion of elements from symphonic Gothic metal enhances the experience in a marvellous way. All of the songs deliver a consistent approach, yet at times they take a little bit to get going, but once they start they usually end quite solid.
A Remarkable Piece Of Black Art – 100%
Darzamat is a very original band, there is no doubt about this. It is very hard to categorize their music. Is it black metal, is it Gothic metal? It is some crossover between those two genres, taking the best elements from both and blending them into their original style of let’s say dark metal.
When I first heard this album, I was, I must say, disgusted by the lo-fi production, but as I was listening more and more to the music, I was taken into the Secret Garden, so to say… The album title , ”In The Flames Of Black Art” is very symbolic, as is the whole music. There is an aura of mystery, the music sounds very mystic and hermetic. The lyrics are poems put to music, written in the symbolist manner, using many allegories, and they can be read in different ways, which adds to the mystical feel the music creates, and is open to a very subjective, personal listening and receiving of it. The lyrics mainly deal with emotions, but in an obscure way. The music is mainly keyboard driven. The keyboards are the main responsible for that mystical feel. They use some instruments I never heard before. They give the music a symphonic skeleton, which sounds majestic, beautiful, but never aggressive, just calming and soothing; unusual for Gothic/black metal. Also the music is very dramatic and theatrical.
Darzamat has two vocalists, a male and female one, and both of them are not the usual sort of Beauty and the Beast duos. The male vocalist, Flauros, the frontman of Darzamat, uses different vocal styles, a growl and a clean tenor voice. The tenor voice is pretty standard fare, but the growls are instantly recognizable â€“ no other vocalist sounds like that, they sound very evil, it is hard to describe them, but they are something in-between a death grunt and a BM rasp. I presume his vocals are an acquired taste, as his style can drive away listeners for being unusual. The female vocals provided by Katarzyna are very high pitched, but it is not that she sings very high, but it is the tone of her voice, and it is pretty unique. She initially sounds very odd and time is needed to get accustomed to her voice, but once you get used to it, you will be lulled by her unique vocal style. The beauty of her voice doesn’t come from her skill, but from her style, which fits very well into the whole mystic and atmospheric concept. The vocal duets don’t do either the classic BnB vocal trade. Usually, male vocals sing one line and female repeat the same line in a different way. In other instances, female vocals appear solo and do some chant like parts (the oh-oh and ah-ah), or sing their own line, but only at key moments, as for in Theatre of Rapture, when she sings ”I see a bird on the sky which steals my longing…”.
The opener ”In The Flames Of Black Art” begins with some trumpet sounding keys supported by some drums reminiscent of a war march, very dramatic opening that soon bursts into the 2nd track ”Legend”. This song has many tempo changes, ranging from fast, with blast beats and slow parts. Keys are ever present, while riffs follow the keys, but it is not noticeable until you listen very carefully. I won’t go song by song, as I would leave this to the listeners, because i think this music is just made for personal listening experience and subjective interpretation, I will just say that all songs have their own personality, but as the music is not very accessible at first listen, the CD will need a few spins to make the music shine, for the music indeed shines.
You will notice that the music has a very good flow, which is a Darzamat trademark, as all their albums have that sense of logical and natural flow. Even when the tempo changes, it comes not abruptly, but albeit not expected, it doesn’t give the feeling that the various parts of the songs have been pasted to each other. There is no bad song, all songs are beautiful, every song is a separate musical idea; but as I already said, this is a very original and unique piece of art, that needs time and careful listening to be truly appreciated. Just enter the Secret Garden, behold the Thatre of Rapture and let yourself burn in the Flames of Black Art.
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly Interesting Polish Music
Darzamat is another of the ubiquitous Polish Phenoms that are starting to make a splash around the world. Darzamat (guardian of all gardens and woods), a quintet, includes Katarzyna Banaszak – Rafa “”Flauros”” GÃ³ral – vocals & lyrics, Szymon Struek – bass & midi programming, Krzysztof Michalak – guitars and Pawe Chudzicki – drums.
Unlike the other highly popular Polish bands, Darzamat has both a male and female singer like, but unlike, Lacuna Coil and that’s not the only difference. Trying to describe Darzamat’s music, is like trying to describe a cloud or a breeze or a sunset. Oh sure you can describe them in general but try doing it in detail.
Darzamat’s music is not B&B but it kinda is. It’s not Black Metal, but it kinda is. It’s not Gothic, but, you guessed it, it sorta is. It’s MYSTERIOUS, it’s ETHEREAL, it’s SENSUAL, it’s ATMOSPHERIC and SYMPHONIC, with both enchanting female vocals as well as a Black Metal croak and clean male vox. And the melodies! Where do they get them? they’re like nothing in the West. Sure, I hear glimmers of them from time to time like with Rhea’s Obsession but not like this. They bombard you! This should get 5 stars just for being so unusual and sensual. By the way the band themselves describe their music as Black Art, curious!
“”In The Flames Of Black Art””, starts with a cello, very intriguing keyboards, rhythmic guitars in the background and some subdued growls from Flauros. Although there are lyrics, they are indistinguishable. This is virtually an Instrumental.
“”Legend?”” starts fast with drums and slows down, we also get some clean male vocals and joined for the first time by Kate’s hypnotic singing, together with intriguing melodies, “”Flauros”” and combined with symphonic sounding keyboards and also calmer interludes. “”I saw the tree at the night / Which with his colour was killing / the most sublime feelings in me
“”Secret Garden”” is a slower, more atmospheric song. “”Hurry my steeds chased by the wind / Across the crystal meadows / Nobody will hear the piano of melancholy”” After a keyboard intro Kate takes over, with the other band members sing back on chorus’s. There are violins and a harp added for effect.
“”Seven Golden Fires”” an epic, probably the best song on the album, this medium paced song is over eight minutes of ominous symphonic melodies with Kate and Flauros taking turns. “”Sitting by the candles / Before the mirror of my inspiration / I look at my mirror’s picture / So who am I if there stays a mind of an / Inexhaustible mistery with me?””
“”Theatre of Rapture”” is similar to “”Seven Golden Fires but at a slower pace. “”Why do you rise me above the clouds / And I hear the voice of my lust / That I hid away from the light / Only desire can be the wind in my dreams””
“”The Dream”” Why do you rise me above the clouds / And I hear the voice of my lust / That I hid away from the light / Only desire can be the wind in my dreams “”The Dream”””” violins and keyboards and a buzzing guitar highlight this faster beat number. Flouros has the lead with Kate backing.
“”The Storm”” is an anthem, black metal style. Pronounced drums and ominous stringed instruments lead this very interesting number. “”The storm, that the flames of black art have started / The storm, which has left the symbol of thousand fires / The storm, which gives the thousand minds””
If you are a curious and expanding type person, Darzamat is certainly worth a listen. Although this album was originally recorded in 1997 it is a breath of fresh air and will never be dated.